THE ^ NobeL
^ Mr. Bryanfs Mistake,'''' etc.
In Three Volumes.
RICHARD BENTLEY & SON,
PUBLISHERS IN ORDINARY
TO HER MAJESTY the QUEEN.
(All rights reserved.)
CONTENTS OF VOL. I.
^ The Important
Deus ex Machina
"Sing of the nature of woman, and then the song
shall be surely full of varieties, old crochets, and most
sweet closes ; it shall be humour grave, fantastic, loving,
melancholy, sprightly, one in all, and all in one."
THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
HEN Catharine Palmer first met
Stephen Turold, she thought him
an angel. He was a boy In looks ; a fair,
graceful creature, with Grecian features and
a tenor voice, who played most delicately on
the violin, and was by birth and education
a gentleman. Later she found him a very
fallen angel indeed, and suffered many things
at his hands. However, she had loved him,
had made herself his slave, finally had
THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
married him ; and, indeed, as his wife, she
kept him tolerably straight by sheer force of
character and power of affection — the latter
only very Indifferently returned. A hard,
anxious life she had with this man, crippled
by constant poverty ; for Stephen, ejected
from his own class, had no talent for making
a living in a lower one. Catharine worked
for both, unknown to her husband's family
and with but little assistance from her
brother, who neither understood nor ap-
proved her way of life and choice of a
Then, a few years later, came a great mis-
fortune : Catharine fell ill, and, after linger-
ing for several months, a time of great
misery to herself and to her helpless husband,
she died ; rather suddenly In the end. The
man, half-starved, exasperated, and reckless,
was away at some wild orgy, and the shock
of finding his wife dead on his return seemed
to unhinge his brain. At Catharine's funeral
every one remarked upon the widow^er's
Strange hilarity as he stepped lightly behind
the coffin, carrying his little son, whose rosy
cheek formed a striking contrast to his own
In the evening, Stephen Turold, still with
the baby in his arms, came to visit his
brother-in-law, who lived in a model lodging-
house near Smithfield. Jack Palmer was
foreman in an oil-shop, and had been married
for fifteen years to the daughter of a village
schoolmaster. The pair were simple,
countrified people still, though John had
educated himself a good bit in a quiet way,
and had a taste for science, and a thoughtful,
inventive mind under a dull exterior. When
Stephen came in, he was received with the
utmost gentleness. Polly put down her
sewing, and Jack took a holiday from his
chemicals ; for he was experimenting on the
mineral oils which he daily handled and sold
in his master's shop. He took Stephen's
baby on his knee, dandled and danced him,
poked his fat cheeks, and felt his firm limbs
THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
with an air of admiration, suggesting a
large bump of phlloprogenltlveness ; and
Stephen watched him with hungry eyes,
making Httle reply to Mary's well-meant
observations of condolence and sympathy.
" You have a deal left you to live for, Mr.
Turold,'' said good Mrs. Palmer. '' There's
a many would give up most all they pos-
sessed to have a little lad of their own like
''Would yoitV asked Stephen, quickly.
John's hand was arrested on the child's
golden hair, and he glanced furtively at his
brother-in-law. " I have brought the imp
to you," continued the father, leaning his
chin on his hand and speaking quickly and
unsteadily ; '' I'll make you a present of him,
if you like."
There was a silence, only broken by the
child's Innocent breathing. Mary looked at
her husband; but beseemed lost in thought,
his finger, stained black with his chemicals,
still absently twisting the flaxen curls.
" Let me tell you how it is." resumed
Stephen, with tremulous eagerness; ''I'm
fond of the little chap, and so was Kate.
He's healthy enough, and looks as if he
might turn up trumps — doesn't he ? — if he
got fair play in the game. But what can /
do for him '^ I don't see my way to feeding
him, let alone to making him a gentleman.
It wouldn't be much advantage to him to
turn out my style of gentleman. Give me
some of that whisky you've got there, Jack ;
talking is dry work."
" It's spirits of wine," said John, grimly,
removing the black bottle. " Go on with
what you are saying."
'' I'm saying I can teach the boy to drink,
and that's about all," said Stephen, in the
same agitated tones. " I don't care to drop
him into the workhouse. Kate didn't de-
serve that treatment for her son. God
knows she didn't get much good by her
marriage ; but she has brought a fine child
into the world, and if he turns out well,
8 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
perhaps, after all, she'll feel she was paid
" If," began Mary, *.' she could see
" I'm not under discussion, thank you ;
though I've my own idea about myself.
I'm going away from here, Jack, and it's not
—at present — my intention to take the brat
'' Where are you going ? "
*' No matter. Where's the child going .^
That's what I ask you. Come, Polly —
Jack — if you don't want him, say so, and I'll
wring his neck and have done with it."
"Oh, John, let us have him !" cried Mrs.
John held up his hand delayingly.
'' We can't make a gentleman of him,
*' No ; who wants it .^ My people don't.
You think my people ought to do something
for him ? Well, they won't ; that's flat.
Kate had the notion herself; would go
down herself, poor fool, to see my father.
Shall I tell you the result ? He frightened
her into denying, the brat's very existence,
and her own almost, lest the governor
should take him to make a o:entleman of
My father has treated me like a dog — a
cursed and kicked-out dog ; why should I
give him the one thing I've got of any
value ? Do you think he'd be kind to the
child ? Not he. He'd call it a beo^orar for
Kate's sake, and a thief for mine. I know
my father, I tell you, and all my brothers,
and the whole damned lot of 'em. No, no ;
wring the child's neck, if you choose, but
don't you put him in the way of any one
named Turold. Let him earn his bread.
If he goes to the dogs like his father — it's
most likely in his blood — let him do it
obscurely among low-class people, who make
no splash when they go under."
" I'd bring him up a pledge chap," said
John, thoughtfully ; and Stephen Turold
laughed loud and long.
lO THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
" Remember, Jack, there's not a penny to
come to him, nor prospect of any, confound
it. I'm too low down in the family for
rights, and too offensive for favours ; so
don't you go bothering the governor for
either. It's charity, of course ; but you two,
you could have afforded a child, you know,
if you had chosen. Kate and I couldn't,
but we got him ; and that's how the world
wags. Rectify the ways of Providence,
Jack. He's not a bad-looking little chap.
You'd never have made a child like that,
you two. Couldn't you feel grateful to us
for doing the job so successfully for you ?
Call him your own son, and swallow the
admiration you'll get for him. Upon my life,
it's a handsome present I'm making you !
Still, here are papers to prove he has a right
to my name, if he ever should want it. They
might come in handy some day, who knows ?
And just see that he learns to spell his name
right. Jack. Yoit never take the trouble
to write it twice alike."
IXTRODUCTOR Y. 1 1
*' If he's to be our boy," said John,
thoughtfully, " he had best take our name,
for qrood and alL It's an honester one than
" And better suited to a butcher or a ra^^-
man," said Stephen Turold, laughing. And
he got up hastily and went out, with an
unsteady step as if he had been drinking.
John, still holding the child, contemplated
the little sleeping face, and Poll}- put her
right hand on her husband's, and with her
left raised the baby's finger to her lips.
" Poor little deserted one ! " she murmured
After a minute Stephen returned.
'' You'll do it, Jack ? Eh, what do you
say ? "
" We've been wanting a child this many a
year," said the man, simply ; '' maybe he'll
bring a blessing with him."
" He'll have a debt to pay you some day,"
said Stephen, huskily, and squeezed his
brother-in-law's fineers. Then he stumbled
12 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
out again, singing a music-hall ditty on the
folly of matrimony.
That night Stephen Turold cut his
throat in the bare room where his wife
had died. His corpse was found in the
morning, a look of wild horror on its
discoloured face, and one hand reaching out
vainly towards a white woolly lamb which
Catharine had bought for the child the
last time she had been out. Probably he
had had some distorted affection for the
dead woman and her baby, and, like many
another, was less heartless than he seemed.
But there was an end of him ; and his father,
Charles Turold, of Turold Royal, was at the
inquest ; and when the usual charitable
verdict had been given, he took the poor
corpse hom*e and had it pompously buried
with his ancestors in the family vaults. And
Stephen, whose career had been concealed
as much as possible, was quickly forgotten
in the respectability of dull cold marble.
The world never knew of the dead man's
wife, and the existence of the blue-eyed
baby remained unsuspected.
And this was the fashion by which honest
John Palmer acquired his handsome, fair-
haired son, who grew up the very apple of
his eye and the unspeakable delight of all
HAT people remarked in the men of
the Turold family was that they were
all very much alike. There was a certain
family ideal upon which they formed them-
selves, and it made no difference to any one
if the man reigning were a Reginald or a
Richard, a Stephen or a Charles. At the
present moment it was Gilbert. He was
very much in evidence at county boards and
on local committees, in the hunting-field, at
public balls and magistrates' dinners ; the
tenants liked him and called him a real
gendeman, but he was too poor to be the
ideal landlord of these progressive days,
IN TROD UCTOR V. 1 5
and the Molesworthy Radical newspaper
denounced him as a tyrant and a land-
The thing, however, which very few
practically remembered was that Gilbert,
though regnant, was as yet merely the heir.
His father still lived — a lonely, gout-stricken
old gentleman, who had made his bow to
society and seldom moved out of his own
apartments. Nevertheless, that old gentle-
man was really the family despot and
governed in rightdown earnest, though he
had stepped from his throne and had lifted
his kingly crown on to the brow of his son.
Gilbert was a good deal afraid of his father,
and, you may be quite sure, so was Lilith.
Lilith was Gilbert's daughter and only
child, consequently the heiress presumptive;
for it was accurately arranged in the entail
that upon failure of male heirs (and Gilbert
was at the present moment the last of these)
the inheritance was to pass to the nearest
female, who was to retain her name and to
l6 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Start the family afresh. Lllith had taken
advantage of her unusual position as female
heir to vary the type a little. Possibly she
had the family intolerance of interference,
and their settled conviction that the Turolds
were now and always had been the first
family in England. She had too the family
blue eyes ; but her hair w^as black and curly
and not too abundant, as unlike the smooth,
golden braids of her cousin Lady Caroline
Vane (a typical Turold) as her slender
willowy frame was inferior to that lady's
Juno-like and somewhat formidable propor-
tions. Lady Caroline and the old grand-
father too thought Lilith a poor creature, and
he had been extremely cross with her for her
sex ; but that was a very long time ago, and
now he had acquiesced in the inevitable,
only insisting that he should have a very
noisy voice In her marriage, and that it should
take place the moment she was out of the
" Dear papa," said Lilith, *' grandpapa is
INTROD UCTOR Y. I 7
SO old, how can he possibly know the sort
of person I should like to marry ? I should
so very much rather ji'<9?/ settled it."
Gilbert Turold smiled and drew her affec-
tionately towards him.
*' Try and realize your position, Lilith.
Noblesse oblige, and Miss Turold must marry
the man suitable to her, not merely the man
she likes. You owe a debt to your long line
of ancestors, my child, and, I hope, to as long
a line of your descendants."
Sixteen-year-old Lilith pouted.
" It would be pleasanter to like him
'' To be sure, to be sure. Only you
mustn't begin with the liking, as the daughter
of a country clergyman might be allowed
" Papa," said Lilith, " didn't you begin
with liking ? "
He smiled, pushing the curls off her
forehead and kissing it.
" That was a little different, my love.
VOL, I. 2
1 8 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
I was not the heir when I married. Your
uncles were alive. A little more heroism
is demanded of you, Lilith. We must choose
for you, my dear ; and, remember, it is only
a very ill-regulated mind, impossible in a
member of our family, which requires to
have duty safeguarded by vulgar passion."
'' Oh dear me ! " cried Lilith, blushing
scarlet, '' I should certainly never have a
passion for anybody ! All I mean is that
grandpapa is too old to know in the least
the kind of person who would be suitable.
He does not dislike that horrid man with
the squint and the stammer who dined
here on Tuesday. He did not seem sur-
prised that such a man had been able to
get a wife. I don't think it has occurred
to grandpapa that a person with a stammer,
or a cork leg, or a crooked nose, or any-
thing of that sort, could never be a suit-
able hus I mean that I, Lilith Turold,
could never bear to live in the house or to
sit at table every day with a creature like
INTRODUCTORY. 1 9
that. Don't yoic see, papa ? Do please
explain to grandpapa. I assure you I care
very much indeed what people look like, and
I don't know what would become of me if
grandpapa tried to make me marry that kind
of man ! "
Lilith spoke with great earnestness. For
only that morning she had overheard a
conversation about a certain Lord Beacon,
who had presumably been expressing ad-
miration for the Princess Royal.
'* My heiress cannot marry a peer," she
had heard her grandfather say ; '' her long
line must not be obliterated by union with
a so-called noble one. It is needless,
Gilbert, to discuss this young man's pre-
But no one had appeared to dislike Lord
Beacon for his white eyelashes and his shuf-
flino- orait. The damsel therefore felt that her
first suitor had been dismissed on the wrone
grounds ; and she discerned a divergence of
opinion between herself and her elders,
20 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
which might some day assume gigantic
dimensions. Whether or not It occurs to
any young woman of sixteen, pretty or plain,
rich or poor, that she may end by never
marrying anybody, I cannot say. Most
certainly no such dismal foreboding crossed
the mind of Miss Turold, of Turold Royal,
for a single instant. Yet she trembled and
half wished herself a little maid of fourteen
again, too young to be thinking of marriage
at all ; and this feeling remained even after
her fears about cork les^s and stammers had
calmed down a little. For by this time she
had seen her cousin Edward Vane, and it
would have needed eyes much duller than
Lilith's pretty blue ones not to perceive that
this young gentleman would be highly suit-
able for the vacant situation, if he had a
mind to apply for It. Edward had his full
complement of limbs and was In every way
pleasanter to look upon than Lord Beacon.
No doubt Gilbert Turold felt, In presenting
this young man as a possible candidate, that
INTRODUCTORY. 2 1
he had found some one acceptable no less to
pretty Miss Lihth than to the autocrat
grandfather. The girl recognized her father's
ingenuity ; and suddenly, trembling a little,
she felt herself much older and a bit of a
coquette : no longer a child, but a grown
woman of great importance and an object of
attention to suitors.
The point was, however, what did
Edward Vane think of Lilith ? And who
was he .^
Well, he was an important personage too.
His father, son of old Charles Turold's
sister Maria, though he had grown up under
the care of a step-mother almost unknown
to the Turolds, was, nevertheless, their
nearest relation. And he had married his
cousin Lady Caroline Erpingham — the large
lady of the golden hair above alluded to —
who, like all the Erpinghams, kept up a
close connection with her relatives at Turold
Royal, and was in all respects herself a
typical Turold in appearance and habit of
2 2 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
mind. She had a large progeny, male and
female; and all her children, except Edward,
were very like herself, and not particularly
interesting. Edward was different : a quiet,
clever boy, curiously reticent of himself and
his interests ; who asserted that he had no
tastes and no occupations, worked at his
mathematics in secret, and put himself to
great inconvenience, locking up his books
and scientific instruments and bolting his
doors lest he might be surprised at his
favourite employments. After taking high
university honours, he amazed his family by
settling down at Cambridge as a Fellow,
living in very luxurious college rooms, and
devoting himself ostensibly to the collecting
of china. Occasionally he lectured or ex-
amined a little to justify his presence at the
university, yet, on the whole, he seemed as
much a fish out of water there as amone
his bustling brothers and sisters at home.
Very few people knew that he was in reality
a laborious student and an enthusiast in
certain narrow and rather unpractical branches
of scientific experiment.
Before long, however, his father died ;
and after this Edward lived less In college,
was oftener seen in his house at Moles-
worthy, and more frequently met in society.
In person this young man was handsome,
but of no great size. His manners were
irreproachable. He talked well, and a
little cynically ; and you had to know him
very intimately before you discovered that
on any subject he might have said more
than ever he did say, and perhaps some-
thing a little different. He had several
literary accomplishments ; he danced well,
and could make himself very agreeable to
women, while speaking of them slightingly
and exhibiting no tendency whatever to
flirtation. Altogether he was an enigma to
his brethren, and rather an annoyance
to Lady Caroline ; but, one and all, they
were afraid of him, and, in a quiet way, he
ruled them with a rod of iron.
24 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Edward was twenty-seven when he first
saw LiHth Turold. Of course the family
glory had been dihgently dinned into his
ears by his mother, but she had never
succeeded in eHciting from him one apparent
spark of interest in the subject.
'' I was not born hicky," said Edward,
yawning ; '' though I am the next heir,
you'll find Turold Royal won't come to me
as a heritao^e."
Lady Caroline suggested that he might
marry the heiress, and Edward shrugged his
shoulders and said he knezu better. Never-
theless he had his own sentiments, and when
Gilbert sent him an invitation to the Court,
he accepted it.
No doubt it was the place he fell in love
with first. If he did not find the opulence
which Lady Caroline's exaggerations had led
him to expect, he discovered poetry and
romance which had eluded her prosaic mind.
The beauty of the situation excited him ;
the green slopes and shadowed glades sur-
rounding the low red house, part of which
dated from the twelfth centun*. Enchant-
ment wrapped him round as soon as he
had crossed the threshold, had seen the
mouldy tapestries, the armour which had
fought at Jerusalem or Agincourt, the por-
traits of the men whose blood flowed in
his veins. He also was a Turold of the
Turolds, and from this moment he was
greedy of the inheritance.
And now enter to him Lilith, the slip of
a girl who stood between it and him. Lilith
was sixteen, tall and lank, as became her
years ; dressed still in a shortish frock, with
her hair looped low on her neck in a school-
girl knot Yet the frock, donned for the
occasion, was a pretty and a stately one.
made out of her mothers wedding dress,
quite plain, but a little low at the neck,
showing the spring of a throat already
beautiful and suiting the creamy bloom of
a delicate cheek. To Edward, used to his
high-coloured and brawny young sisters.
26 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
this girl seemed all daintiness and grace,
exquisite in her freshness, her pretty pride
in her position, her joyous appreciation of
her opening life and the attention she was
to meet with from the world. At once
gracefully shy and delicately daring in her
manner to himself, Lilith irresistibly attracted
her cousin's eyes and fixed his interest. He
had been but a few moments in her presence
when it struck him, agitatingly, why her
parents had sent for him to Turold Royal.
He paused in the middle of a sentence, his
face suddenly paling, which was his manner
of showing emotion, and his quick mind
remembering many things in a lightning
flash. These pleasant people, father and
mother, who were watching with the greatest
interest the progress of their experiment,
were offering him, actually offering him this
romantic place, this delicate damsel, both of
which he already coveted. And, half-stunned
by the novelty of the question, Edward
heard his own heart asking him persistently,
''Why not? In a little while, why not i^ "
Yet he did not at once come forward as
a suitor, perhaps because Lilith was only
sixteen. At least, he gave his impatient
mother no other reason for delay ; and he
kept up a close intimacy with the girl and
T Is explained that Turold was a very,
very old name. There it is on the
Bayeux tapestry ; and William the Con-
queror had a preceptor of the name, who
was afterwards a Grand Constable, and sent
on an embassy to Guy of Ponthieu. Two
of the Constables sons came to England
and are mentioned In the Domesday Book ;
and of one of these Gilbert Turold was
now the last male heir in a direct and un-
Turold Royal came Into the possession of
the family by gift of King Stephen. The
house, of which the ancient form was still
to be traced at the core of the present
Tudor building, stood on a gentle hill, sur-
rounded by terraced gardens, which sloped
away to parks and woods. All the furniture
was old, and from one end to the other the
old house was chockful of relics. There
were two royal beds and half a hundred
locks of hair. There were autographs,
rapiers, shields, shoes, fans, posy rings,
innumerable ; and at least three ghosts
dating from three different centuries. There
were a few good portraits and a great many
bad ones. There was the christening robe
of Henry VII., the warming-pan of the
Count of Edessa, Queen Eleanor's stoneware
jug, and three letters from Katharine of
Arragon. The andirons in the hall bore
Henry VIII.'s initials, and a drawing-room
chair was of yellow silk, flowered in silver
by a lady of Charles II. Perkin Warbeck's
head sat under a glass case ; and beside it
were three notable cauls, Michael Scott's
showstone, a divining rod, and two of the
fingers of Christopher Marlowe. But of one
thing there was ever but scanty store at
30 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Turold Royal — a thing spoken of there as a
vulgar triviality, which is yet generally a
useful article enough — mo7iey.
Alas, and alas ! the want of money is the
root of all evil ; and under Gilbert's rdgime
even the Turolds of Turold Royal were
beginning to be dimly aware of the fact.
Expenses had a tiresome habit of increasing.
For example, the stables tumbled down, and
the church, which was a prized family re-
sponsibility, had its steeple struck by light-
ning. There was a murrain among the
deer ; and a catastrophe, which entailed
extensive doctoring fees, among the farm
servants. Finally, the very extravagant
Local Board undertook the repair of a road
skirting the park, and sent in a monstrous bill.
Mr. Turold felt that the very last straw had
now been l^id on the camels back, and
he summoned the family lawyer for advice
on the financial position. Mr. Wilkinson
scratched his head thoughtfully.
*' Follow, sir, the Duke of Hampstead's
example — sell your Velasquez, or the two
Vandycks, and Peg Woffington's powder-
''We will not," said IMr. Turold. (That,
of course, means Gilbert. The old gentle-
man will never appear in these pages without
a flourish of trumpets before his entrance.)
*' We will not," repeated Gilbert Turold to
several further suggestions, some of which
seemed sacrilegious to the embarrassed
gentleman, some merely insufficient. At
last he decided to sell a parcel of land ad-
joining the estate, which had recently fallen
in from a great aunt, and which, not being
included in the original property, was insig-
nificant in the family eyes. It consisted of
about fifty acres, chiefly woodland, opposite
to the drawing-room windows of Turold
Royal ; and far away, concealed among the
trees, was the pretty cottage where the
deceased lady had lived with her parrots
and her pugs.
Mr. Turold imag-ined that "To be Sold"
32 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
having been stuck upon a board beside this
Httle house, purchasers would immediately
fieht for It. He was in error. Weeks
passed before any notice was taken ; then
one or two persons Inspected, inquired,
shied at the price, made offers and were
" If, sir," suggested the land-agent, '' I
might put it up in lots for villas "
''Villas?'' said Mr. Turold, incensed.
*' Certainly not. Villas mean tradespeople,
and we owe a duty to county society. The
only person I can import into the neighbour-
hood is a gentleman, say a retired Indian
General of good descent, or the son of a
"Sir," said Mr. Letterby, meekly, "you
must, I fear, lower your price."
" If my purchaser is a gentleman," said
Mr. Turold, " he will not be on the look-out
for a bargain."
Mr. Letterby consequently expected that
Sllcote Dene — so the little estate was called —
would remain in the market. He also was
proved to be mistaken.
For one da}*, ]\Iiss Kidson, daughter of
the chairman of the Molesworthy Local
Board and editor of the Radical paper, was
riding with her friend Tom Palmer. ]\Iiss
Kidson had scant consciousness of her
own very remarkable personal beauty, but
she knew quite well she was clever. She
had just come home from Newnham College,
liaving taken honours in Science and Moral
Philosophy. She was an advanced young
lady ; philanthropic of course, and with a
passion for reforming the world. At the
present moment she was unmercifully boring
Tom Palmer with her hobbies ; and he was
thinkinor more of the fresh o^reen leaves and
the spring sunshine than of her criticisms
and queries, and of his own very perfunctory-
replies when she appeared to him to be
expecting an answer.
*' The difference between men and women,"
said Grace Kidson, *' is that women are more
VOL. I. ^
34 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
m earliest. I mQ^n awa/ce7ied -womQn. Don't
you think so, Tom ? Otherwise, with your
grand talents and your superb strength, you
would accomplish ten thousand times more.
Earnestness is 07ir gift. You yourself, Tom,
— your music now — you don't labour at it.
If / had your ear, your voice, your fingers,
you careless boy, do you know what I
would do ? "
*'Yes, Gracie, I know," said Tom; ''you
would bore the old folk."
" Oh, Tom, you are so wrong ! You might
be educating their taste. But if I were you,
rd go to Germany and study. You might
be a Wagner, Tom, or at any rate a Brahms.
Oh, if I had but half your talent! Tom,
you vegetate. You are a drone — a mere
drone. It is too bad of you."
** Hallo!" interrupted Tom, "look at this
pretty ivy-covered cottage to be sold ! "
Grace stopped her horse, wheeled round,
and was off on another subject.
*'Oh yes! I w^as near forgetting. I
brought you this way on purpose to show
it to you. I want you to inspect it, Tom,
and see if it won't do exactly for my Conva-
lescent Home. I am determined to enlarge
the Home this year, and to move it to a
brighter situation. And indeed, Tom, your
subscription is overdue, and Mr. Palmer's.
Please don't forget to remind him."
*' There are fifty acres to be sold with this
house," said Tom ; *' it won't suit you,
*' Fifty acres ! Oh, why didn't I notice
that before ! " cried Grace, in dismay. *' I
have mentally had my patients living in this
house for a fortnight. Such a dear, con-
sumptive woman I have now, Tom, deserted
by her husband. Do let me tell you about
her. She is dying, poor thing. I never
had such a responsive, grateful, interesting
creature before. But fifty acres ! No, it
won't do. Come away."
*' Let's get down and look at it, though,"
said Tom ; "it takes my fancy."
36 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
They dismounted, giving their horses to
the caretaker to hold while they went in.
The cottage drawing-room opened by French
windows on to a weed-grown garden, where
white convolvulus strangled the syringa
bushes, and tall grass quivered golden before
the sombre evergreens. Tom stepped out,
Grace followinor him. It was evening-, and
the thrushes sang their loudest on the tops
of the poplar trees ; now and then a few
nightingale notes bubbled forth from the
lower shrubs. The ground below the garden
fell rapidly to the valley, where a tiny river
shone like a golden thread. Beyond, rose
the sloping emerald park-lands of Turold
Royal, with herds of deer reposing under
beech and ash ; on the crest of the hill were
the low red walls and the turreted battle-
ments of the old house, h. figure in white
was just visible; standing on the terrace,
and perhaps watching the gambols of the
great dog whose bark boomed faintly across
the valley to the distant cottage.
" That's the prettiest thing I ever saw in
my life ! " cried Tom Palmer. "I'd like to
live in this cottac^e." And he added im-
pulslvely, — his nostrils tickled by the scent of
the syrlnga, the bubbling bird-notes sending
a shudder of delight down nerves which
vibrated to every voice of music, while the
sunset sky, the dark house, and the white
figure were painted on his eyes like a vision
In a pleasant dream, — '' Fifty acres is exactly
the size father is looking for ! "
It was consequent on Tom's ride with
Grace Kidson that a purchaser appeared
for Silcote Dene, who made no demur about
the price, nor difficulties of any sort. But
he wasn't the son of a lord nor even a
retired Indian General. The matter was
concluded before Gilbert Turold could look
round, or fully realize what it was that he
had done. When he did realize It, he felt
thoroughly vexed, if not a little ashamed of
" But who Is it, papa," asked Lilith, see-
38 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
ing him disturbed ; " who has bought the
Dene ? "
" Poverty leads one into strange tempta-
tions," moralized Mr. Turold. '* Lilith, when
you marry, you must marry a wealthy man,
my dear child ! "
" What have you done, Gilbert ? " asked
" I have committed a social error, Evelyn.
I have, I am sorry to say, introduced into
our neighbourhood a member of the very
class which I least wish to see in society —
the class whose only title to consideration
''But who, papa ? — who ? "
" A tradesman who advertises in every
'' My dearest Gilbert ! Not the Moles-
worthy butcher ? "
" Nothing so respectable, Evelyn. This
man is a noisy, speculating humbug. Bah !
you know his name well enough."
" Surr's Soap, papa ? "
''No; Palmers Prepared Paraffin, Lilith."
" My dear Gilbert ! " exclaimed Mrs.
Turold, and thought she detected a frown
on the stern countenance of the Reginald
who had fought for the king at Naseby, and
was now in a picture-frame over the door.
" Look here, papa ! All over the back
of the Guardian, ' Buy Palmer's Paraffin ! '
And near Oxford the other day I saw a
great board in a field, ' Burn Palmer's
Prepared Paraffin ; ' and two ladies in our
railway carriage turned to each other and
said, both at once, * Do yoic burn Palmer's
Paraffin ? It's the best ! ' Don't you think
they were paid to do it, papa ? "
At this moment old Mr. Turold, who had
graciously joined the family circle, bumped
his hand-gong noisily ; and when his valet
came, got himself and his wheeled chair
conveyed out of the room.
'' Why, grandpapa, how early you are
running away ! " said Lilith.
40^ THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
"Your lamps smell to-night, my dear,"
She clapped her hands.
''Impossible, grandpapa! It's Palmer's
Prepared Paraffin ! "
'' Exactly ; the whole room reeks of it.
Good night, Gilbert. Allow me to say you
have mismanaged this affair from beginning
And every one felt sorry for the Prince-
regent thus publicly rebuked by the abdi-
cated monarch, and Lilith kissed the top
of her father's head sympathetically.
One morning, a few weeks later, Mr.
Turold, looking out of his window and
frowning because his eye lighted on the
pleasant woods of Silcote Dene, perceived
that a clearance had been made, and that
even at this moment woodmen were enlarg-
ing the space, already an eyesore. A cold
shudder ran down the gentleman's back.
He ordered his horse, and trotted off at
once to Silcote Dene, a distance of four
INTROD UCTOR Y. 4 1
miles by road. The ivy cottage was in-
habited, but not yet improved. Mr. Turold
looked with disgust at a gaudy, half-worn
and ill-fitting carpet in the principal room ;
and at the wall, still stained by flood from
frost-burst pipes in the preceding winter.
''The people must be pigs," he told him-
self in disgust. " What would poor Aunt
Deborah say ? "
Then entered a short, bald personage,
coatless, and smoking a pipe. " I am Mr.
Turold," said the gentleman. " The pro-
prietor," he added rashly, irritated by the
bald man's stare.
*' There's some mistake," said the bald
man. " I'm Salt, the builder, and living in
these premises to hact for Palmer — for Palmer
of Palmer's Prepared Paraffin, you know."
'' I have come to inquire why Mr. Palmer
is cutting down trees on the hill opposite
Mr. Salt stared again. Still he answered
42 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
''Jack Palmer's the last man to displease
any one ; but I ask you, sir, how could
he build his 'ouse without a bit of a clear
space ? "
" Build a house ! You don't mean to
say he is ^oing to build a house ? What
can he want with two houses ? " cried
*' You don't call this 'ere an 'ouse, do
you ? " said Salt, kicking the wall with
'' A house ! God bless me ! " said the
poor gentleman. '' But I can't possibly
have it exactly opposite mine ! I shall
write to your employer myself."
" As you please, sir," said Salt, meekly.
The cutting down of the trees suffered
no check, but Gilbert sent his letter.
Greatly distressed, good Mr. Palmer got
Tom to answer it for him — Tom, who
knew more about gentlemen than he did,
and who wrote a better hand than his
father's. Tom, indeed, wrote so distinctly
that Mr. Tiirold at once recognized his
absolute helplessness, and said no more.
Down came the trees, and up rose the
house. No cottage this time. No, a pre-
tentious, sham antique, tasteless, abominable
villa, with all the modern improvements, and
excessively proud of itself; without even
a creeper on its walls (being new) to veil
its nakedness. On its right was a great
stable ; on its left a huge, dome-topped
glasshouse, suitable for Kew. At the en-
trance was an immense and fantastic lamp,
emitting a very brilliant light.
*' There is only one thing wanting," said
Princess Lilith. '' Some night we shall
wake and see it there — a vast oily comet
flaming across the sky in the form of writing,
' Behold Palmer's Paraffin ! ' "
'* I don't think," murmured her father,
" that my most ingenious enemy could have
contrived for me a greater annoyance."
ll„J2 Mi.»Ai.L^Ll^^ !^ ^.LJJL.,'..'.,,. »*■■■, ir^
THE IMPORTANT PARTY.
T was o-ettlno- near the end of the
season at Luxor. The English
physician had gone from the hotel and the
head-waiter; and If you asked for sundry
delicacies, before abundant, you only got a
lamentable headshake and the explanation,
" Limes " (or soap, or whatever It might be)
''all finished." A scorpion had ijfeen seen
In the dining-room and a yellow snake in
the saloon ; no more Cook's tourists were
expected, and the visitors still in the hotel
were packing up for their return voyage to
Cairo. They were few. A French architect,
measuring the temples for a guide-book ; a
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 45
German philosopher, writing a treatise on
the '' Manners and Methods of Cultivation
of the ancient Egyptians, as compared with
the Habits of Life and Customs of Ao:ri-
culture among the To-day-Nile-bordering-
village-inhabiting-Fellaheen ; " an English
spinster ; a widow and her eldest son named
Vane, and with them a young relative still
in mourning for her mother, Miss Turold
— Lilith, of course ; there was only one
Miss Turold. On this 22nd of March, Lady
Caroline Vane wrote to her cousin Gilbert :
" It is useless hurrying these matters. It
will not be arranged just yet, but all is
admirably en tramr Which, of course, was
her ladyship's way of confessing that a
certain match-making manoeuvre of hers had
While she was writing, the hotel-keeper
received from Cairo a telegram, which flung
him into a o^reat fever of agitation —
" Prepare for an important party." Was
it the Queen of England who was on her
46 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
way ? and at this most unlucky moment
when his wines, his fowls, and indeed his
servants too were "all finished!" He con-
sulted Edward Vane ; who smiled sarcasti-
cally, and repeated the telegram as a jest
at dinner. The " LP.," as the new-comers
were nick-named, became famous even
before their arrival.
A few days passed, and then one sultry
afternoon the Amenartas came (for the
tourist-boats were discontinued) and brought
the Important Party. It was the hour of
siesta, but the LP. murdered sleep. For
an hour there was an incessant trampling
of many feet, a shouting of many voices,
a dragging hither and thither of heavy
boxes. Curiosity constrained Lilith, who
was only eighteen and a wee bit tired of
the hotel party.
*' Edward," she whispered through her
cousin's door, '' they've come ! I do so want
to see them. It's early, but come down
with me now for tea."
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 47
Lilith had not known Edward for three
years ; but because she had made his
acquaintance In her schoolroom days and
was grown up now, she considered him a
very old friend indeed, and they were on
terms of the most comfortable Intimacy. To
him she still seemed much of a child ; but
he admired her, and he Intended her for his
"■ My dear Lilith ! " said Edward, re-
provingly. However, he acceded.
Afternoon tea at the Luxor Hotel is
proverbially good. It seemed exhilarating
to the Important Party, who had just landed
after four days on the postal steamer.
" They are very cheerful people," whis-
pered Lilith, from behind her teapot.
And Edward replied —
" They are precisely what I expected.''
The LP. consisted of five gentlemen and
four ladles, a dragoman, three English men-
servants, and two lady's-maids ; and they
had a great deal of luggage. One gentle-
48 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
man was elderly, and royally addressed as
*' Sir ; " he was bald and stout, had a very
loud voice, and wore a white alpaca coat,
in which he still seemed far too hot. The
elderly lady was obviously his wife. She
was dressed in ** Jaeger," and also seemed too
hot. Then there was a very young and
very showy couple, with a pert and pretty
sister-in-law ; these were friends of the
elderly pair, and the owners of the
enormous travelling trunks. Next came
three men, all under thirty, all well
grown, and all dressed alike in sun-
helmets and other over-tropical garb ;
lastly, a youngish, rather plain but not
displeasing lady, the wife of the eldest of
the three, whom she called Jim.
" I say, waiter," sang out a member of
this party, *' send me a boy to fan the flies
The person addressed was the landlord,
who was too much awed by the I. P. to
object to anything. He called his little son,
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 49
and the child stationed himself solemnly
behind the big gentleman, with a fly-whisk,
which he waved gravely and ineffectually.
A great laugh arose at the unexpected
execution of the order.
" I say, doctor," said Jim, " you're a
''Well.^" said the doctor, ''it's like we
always did in Burmah, don't you know ? "
And the pert young lady asked who
'' sybarite " was when he was at home.
*' Him," replied the doctor, imperturbably,
pointing with his thumb to a picture on the
wall, copied from the tomb of Ti at Sakkarah.
Renewed laughter, the pictures seeming
"• There's your portrait. Loo," said Jim,
pointing one out to his wife.
" Oh law, Tom ! " said she, leaning across
to another of the party ; '' isn't that a com-
pliment Jim's paying me ? "
'' It's Cleopatra," said the doctor, spell-
ing out with difficulty some letters placed
VOL. I. 4
50 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
one above the other. General laughter
'' Tom's in a brown study," said Mrs. Jim,
pouring fresh tea into his cup. *' Have it
strong, Tom, do ; it'll wake you up."
Tom had been silently examining the
room and its occupants with a calm survey
from a pair of frank, unabashed, blue eyes,
which had never quailed before any one.
He saw windows opening upon a bushy
garden, across which the sun streamed mer-
cilessly ; he saw a second long table, with
a white cloth for dinner ; he saw at the
end of the table at which he himself sat, a
ridiculous little Frenchman (Tom was still
at the stage in which all Frenchmen appear
ridiculous) ; he saw an Englishman, whose
good looks gave him the impression that he
had somewhere and somewhen certainly
seen him before. And then he saw a young
English lady. Tom got no further in his
survey of the room. He remained staring
at the young lady.
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 51
She was dressed in white — that was the
whole description he could have given. He
could not have said for certain that she was
pretty. His discrimination, his self-pos-
session, his very consciousness seemed to
forsake him. As he looked at the young
lady, he felt his soul, as it were, evaporating,
being absorbed into hers ; his heart actually
leaving him to attach itself irrevocably to
hers. In a word, he there and then fell in
" Who ever loved, who loved not at first sight ? "
We mock at the line now. A litde reflec-
tion, we begin with ; a little repulsion ; not
with love. Yet a few simple souls remain
who don't reflect gloomily or much, and who
would never overcome an antipathy. They
survive from some past generation, no doubt,
but they are capable of one most delightful
feat — they can fall in love at first sight.
Tom belonged to them ; and so, oblivious of
all else, he stared on at the young lady,
already la maitresse de son ccBur.
"'"'^'<mY Of u,
52 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
The odd thing was that she stared back
at him ; not, by any means, because she had
fallen in love with him. Certainly not ; but
from curiosity and a little disdainful admi-
ration, much as she might have stared at
a handsome lion in the Zoological Gardens :
till Edward murmured, " Are you ready,
Lilith ? If so, let us escape. I really can't
stand these people longer ! "
Lilith had looked away from the stranger
at once ; and she now got up, rather confused
and rosy. The man called Tom looked
away also, and still did not know where he
was, nor what in the world had happened to
him. And his cheek flushed crimson, and
then grew pale, and then flushed up again,
till his cousin Louisa Howe asked him,
not without apprehension, if he had got a
He had fallen in love; and the young lady
had certainly looked at him, and knew he
had fine blue eyes. And she was a princess
— Miss Turold, of Turold Royal ; and he
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 53
was just a well-to-do person called Tom,
travelling with an Important Party, and pre-
sumably loud and important himself.
After a few minutes, the young man joined
his friends outside the hotel-door, where
were a few cane chairs shaded by tamarisks.
A tame pelican and a couple of dogs were
wandering about ; and saddled donkeys
waited a little further down the path, their
attendant boys squatting on the ground in
the sunshine and teaslncr each other.
" Aren't there some temples or something
to be seen here ? " said Louisa.
*' Oh, temples ! " echoed her husband. " I
don't think much of temples. I'm going on
'' I shall have my hair washed," pro-
nounced the pretty bride to her sister, and
sent her maid to prepare soda and soap.
A sweet, amused laugh was heard from
the staircase window, and Tom felt a de-
licious stab at his heart, and listened for its
54 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
The donkey party came out, mounted and
cantered away — Miss Frost, the spinster,
with her sketch-book ; Lilith Turold, also
with a sketch-book; and Edward Vane.
" Let us make haste ! " cried Lilith
joyously; '*we shan't visit Karnak much
oftener ! "
The young man named Tom stood for
some minutes like one dazed, then ordered
for himself a horse.
'' Horses all finished," said the grinning
oaf he addressed ; " Mafisch horses. But
mine one ver good donk; big, for one English
Not since childhood had Tom bestridden
an ass, and he hesitated. Still the lovely
lady had gone forth on a donkey ; and she
had cantered away so swiftly that to catch
her on foot was hopeless.
** Do I bring '^ Yes ? " cried the boy,
capering round the young man. " Him ver
good ; ver good antique donk. Him call
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 55
Tom mounted Oilskin, a truly stately
white donkey with a cunning eye, and a
scarlet saddle, all hump and girthed with
a loose piece of tape. The ass galloped
off at racing speed, shaving all corners close,
and striking terror Into the foot-passengers ;
heeding somewhat the shouts of his
attendant owner, but not In the least the
rein or the kicks of his rider. Tom had
not gone half a mile before he saw the whit^-
robed damsel and her companions before him
in single file on the narrow causeway ; and
he tried to pull up. The rein broke at once,
and the donkey-boy's one idea was to
demonstrate the speed of his Oilskin to the
party in front. " Stop ! stop, I say ! " cried
Tom, much vexed ; but the boy replied,
*' Me no speak Inglees," and flogged the
donkey and shouted, '' Houp ! Houp !" with
the whole strenorth of his luno^s so that the
pace quickened immoderately. Tom all but
bumped against Miss Frost and heard her
say " very rude," to herself. A violent kick
56 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
he gave his steed on the off side sent him
tottering half way down the bank and got
him past Edward Vane and Lilith in safety.
The girl was laughing ; and she laughed all
the more when her own donkey, a sage little
beast called '' California, My Dear," resolved
to race his stable companion. Tom looked
back and saw — what, to his amazement, did
he see ? — the lovely young lady, far ahead
of her friends, galloping as fast as ever she
could, after him ! And he heard — what did
he hear 1 — the lovely young lady's dulcet
tones speaking to him, most certainly speak-
ine to him.
"■ Oh, do please get out of the way \
California's coming ! California's coming ! "
At this moment Oilskin lost his footing
and disappeared over a precipice, depositing
saddle and rider at the bottom of a vast
sandy ditch. Tom was too much astonished
at finding his donkey in his arms to be
conscious of LiHth's derision, as she flew
by on the wings of California's triumph.
THE IMPORTANT PARTY, 57
After a time Miss Turold pulled up and
waited for her friends.
*' Edward, that gentleman has never come
on. Do you think he can have hurt him-
** It is hardly our affair if he has," said her
" Yes, but it is, for I upset him. Do
please go back and see."
"My dear," said Miss Frost, *' how could
you gallop after that vulgar man in that
most extraordinary fashion ? "
'* Edward," cried Lilith, " if you won't go
and apologize for me I shall just go myself! "
And without waiting for a reply she
summoned Achmed the dragoman and rode
back to the scene of accident. Edward
looked apologetically at Miss Frost and
shruesfed his shoulders.
When Lilith arrived, she found Tom and
the ass standing on the causeway and none
the worse, while the little donkey-boy lay
on the ground howling and kicking and
58 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
rolling about. Tom was comforting the
child with great tenderness, and giving him
baksheesh innumerable. Then he lifted him
gently on the donkey, put his arm round
him, and prepared to lead Oilskin gingerly
back to Luxor. The boy stopped bellowing
for a minute to beat him violently in the
face, which was disconcerting.
" I'm afraid I have hurt this poor little
beggar," said Tom in distress, as Lilith
advanced. " What am I to do .^ "
At this Achmed the drao^oman burst into a
torrent of invective, and would have struck
the boy with the heavy stick he carried had
not Tom caught the blow with his hand.
** Oilskin one shocking, one renown bad
donkey!" cried Achmed. "All the men
knows he. He no good for no one but
black, but very black man."
*' There is nothing the matter with that
child," pronounced Lilith, '' and you mustn't
have this bad donkey. You must take
Achmed's, and he can ride Oilskin back,
THE IMPORTANT PARTY, 59
with the boy running as usual. Oh, Achmed
wasn't told to come with us to day, so don't
trouble about him, nor about that wicked
little boy either. Dear no ! he wasn't near
the donkey, so he couldn't have been hurt.
It is all a device for baksheesh."
Behold how easily things arrange them-
selves ! Presently Tom was mounted on an
admirable brown ass with a bridle, and was
riding, alone if you please, beside the white-
robed lady, who was talking to him as fami-
liarly as if she had known him for a week.
*' You aren't much used to these silly
donkeys, are you?" said Lilith. "You
know they often fall about. And it was all
my fault this time. But I couldn't help it.
I never do know what California will do
next. I didn't mean to run after you. And
you didn't mean to bump Miss Frost. You
must beg her pardon please, just as I have
" YozL ? — begged my pardon ? " stammered
6o THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
"And really you mustn't be so kind to
little donkey-boys. It shows no discern-
ment of character. They are the most
egregious little cheats, not worth a kind
word — so people say." And she glanced
at the young man's pleasant countenance
under his sun-helmet, not without a whiff
of admiration for his good temper about
his ludicrous accident, and indeed for his
good looks. They rode on together, not
rejoining the others.
ILITH was the chief speaker.
'Ts this your first visit to Kar-
nak ? "
" Yes," said Tom, his voice soft with
astonishment and deHght at his good fortune.
" I wonder what you will say ! Have you
seen many temples ? "
" None ! Oh, you have only just come
to Egypt ? "
" We have been a week in Cairo."
" What did you see in Cairo ? "
" We saw — some shops." Tom laughed,
thinking of his travelling companions.
" Don't you like ruins, then ? "
'' I don't think we do particularly."
62 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
*' But you ought to be ashamed to say
that ! Why have you come to Egypt if
you don't like ruins ? "
'* I think we came — well, I don't know —
because we heard of so many other people
'' Oh, really But you don't mean it ! "
cried Lilith, interrupting herself as she
caught his eye.
'' You see," said Tom, " I don't call this
visiting Egypt. Some day I shall come
again, I hope, and stay longer."
" But why did you come .^ "
" Because my friends wished it. We put
into Alexandria, and one of our party took
into her head to stay there a bit to help
at a — Sailors' Home, I believe they call
it. So the rest of us thought we'd take
a look at Cairo."
"You were yachting, then? How nice!
I have never been on a yacht. What's your
yacht's name ? "
" The Mermaidr
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 63
''Does she belong to that old gentleman?''
said Lllith, inquisitively.
"No, she belongs to me."
'' Oh ! " said the girl, rather taken aback ;
" then you are the head of the party ? "
*' Not when we are ashore. Nowhere, I
think. Sir Joseph is the head. This is
the Mermaid's third voyage. My father
went with me last time, but this year he
has been too busy. And Sir Joseph— no,
his wife — was rather ill and ordered a
voyage. Harris comes as their doctor, and
the Howes are my cousins ; the other three
only joined us in Cairo."
'* And the person who went to the Sailors'
Home ? "
"That is Grace — Miss Kidson, Sir Joseph's
daughter. She is given to all philan-
" Quite a party," said Lillth, vaguely, and
gave some details about her friends.
After this they were silent for a while, and
the girl felt her companion's eyes watching
64 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
her. She grew embarrassed and burst into
'' You don't seem to have come to Luxor
at all with the proper motives, but I think
you'll get more than you bargained for."
*' I have done that already," said Tom,
''Dear me," thought Lilith, ''how stupid
I am to blush at nothing in this way ! "
Aloud she said —
" Oh, but you haven't seen anything yet.
You can't imagine Karnak. No one could.
It imtst astonish you ! Look, I am only
going to sketch, but when you have been
round the temple, do please come and tell
me what you think of it ! Will you ? "
" Yes," said Tom, looking away for fear
she might see too much delight on his face.
Miss Frost was, of course, painting the
fallen pillar and the vista of stupendous
columns which led to it. Lilith had found
a simpler subject at some distance ; a
few broken shafts letting in the sunlight,
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 65
and a glimpse of tender palm trees beyond,
soaring into the unclouded sky. Edward
established her comfortably, then wandered
away in pursuit of some information he was
collecting for an essay. They were all out
of sight of each other, and the donkey-boys
roamed from one to the other, awaiting
their pleasure. Lilith drew boldly and
diligently, delighted when a little bird, un-
used to enemies, perched for a minute on
'* Have I come too soon ? " asked Tom,
reappearing later beside the girl.
She looked up and smiled. Now, Lilith's
smile was particularly lovely, and the young
man would have stood there patiently for
an hour to win its repetition.
'' Well, did you like it .^ " asked the girl.
" Is that all you have to say ? Oh, I am
afraid you are quite hopeless ! "
Tom's eyes wandered away down the long
aisles with their shattered columns and
VOL. I. 5
66 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Strange figures and mystic writing. Here
and there the sunlight streamed through in
a flood of glory, and between these bright
patches were shadows and mysterious depths
of gloom. There seemed no limit to the
silent ruins, and only they two, human beings
of another age, were in sight.
'' Do you think the people of those days
were at all like us ? " asked the young man,
*' At least their temples weren't much like
ours," said Lilith, not over-brilliantly.
" That is it. It seems too far away.
Like something from another world — so
huge and deserted and useless. Only good
to be sketched," he said, a little contemptu-
" Do you mean caricatured ? "
" Oh no. Indeed, no. I was thinking
how very well you are doing it. But you
can't get the size, can you ? No one could
get the size, not even a photographer."
'^ Even a photographer ! " echoed Lilith,
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 67
laying her paint-brush down and looking
at him, shocked.
Tom laughed, and Lilith laughed too
because he did. He felt half wild with
delight that she should laugh with him.
*' I suppose you are a photographer," said
" I was just wishing I might photograph
you," replied Tom, boldly.
" Me ? Oh, I make a very bad photo-
graph. You should try the temple."
*' It is too big."
" Are you angry with it for being big ? "
" It's just what I like about it. I never
saw any building that seemed to me really
" Ah, the temple has impressed you ! "
cried Lilith. *' I knew it would. I kiiew
you'd feel it ! " She was a little ashamed
of her enthusiasm, which betrayed a super-
fluous interest in her companion ; con-
sequently she relapsed into the conversa-
tional tone. " But don't you think it very
68 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
beautiful as well as big ? " she said affably.
Unfortunately, that betrayal of interest had
intoxicated her companion.
*' I think you are so much more beauti-
ful," cried Tom.
Lilith flushed all over her face and shut
her paint-box with a snap. Evidently the
man was uninstructed in manners. She
looked round as if hoping her cousin or Miss
Frost were in sight.
'* I beg you will not repeat that sort of
remark," she said haughtily. But, after a
moment, her genuine annoyance totally and
unaccountably vanished, and what remained
was the merest pinchbeck.
" I did not mean to vex you," said Tom,
humbly. *' I meant — I think," he floundered
on, " that any human being, in comparison
with — masonry — ■ — " Here he stopped, the
colour spreading over his face, and his heart
beating as if he were in the midst of a
declaration of love.
"You were saying," repeated Lilith,
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 69
mercilessly, "that any human being, in com-
parison with masonry "
" Is more interesting,'' said Tom, feebly.
It seemed to him that he was somehow
deceiving her, and presently he added in a
low voice, " I shouldn't have thought of it,
if I hadn't been with you who are so
Lilith shot him a glance from under her
eyelashes, and saw his quite uncalled-for
emotion. She looked away hastily, and
gave a little disdainful laugh, not per-
fectly natural and not quite up to time.
Then, trembling a little, she packed her
drawing-materials and set off homewards,
marching haughtily in front of him and
carrying all her things herself; for Tom,
devoured by remorse, and his cup of joy
dashed to the ground, had made no offer of
assistance. But presently Lilith, threading
her way among the fallen stones in haste and
confusion, stumbled ; and he was by her side
in an instant to lift her up. The girl
yo THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
snatched herself away from his touch, and
he drew back at once. Again Lilith glanced
at him and saw his distress ; and again they
stood for a long moment, both agitated and
silent : the girl's eyes on the distance ; his
on her, yet seeing vaguely beyond her light
figure the strange lines, the gloom, the vast-
ness and the mystery of the Great Hall in
which they were. That background added
to her charm ; it seemed as if to-day's fair
vision of girlish beauty had come to him
imbued and inspired by all the lost romance
of five thousand vanished years. The young
man shuddered with awe and enchantment,
and felt like one falling in a dream over
a precipice into some unsounded abyss of
But now, like unwelcome thoughts. Miss
Frost and Edward appeared, verging to the
donkeys, and Lilith sprang back into her
'' Thank you, Mr. . But I don't know
your name } " she said carelessly, when, a
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. Jl
few moments later, Tom had helped her to
mount California, My Dear.
*' My name is Palmer," said he.
''Palmer!" cried Lilith, looking at him
with a quite new expression now. Then she
laughed, angry with herself and angry with
him. "Are you going to live in a great,
stripy house at Silcote Dene .'^ " she asked
with slight sarcasm.
"Yes," answered Tom, detecting it;
"Oh, nothing. Only we shall be neigh-
bours. I am Lilith Turold."
In a moment Tom was far away from
Karnak and the enchanted maid standing
with bated breath beside him in the Hall of
Columns. He was looking at an English
sunset sky, an English house with mullioned
windows, and battlements standing up dark
against the heavenly gold. He heard the
nightingale's bursting notes, and in the far
distance he saw a white-robed form in a
terraced o^arden, looking, as he fancied.
THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
across the valley towards himself. " I knew
it was Lilith Turold ! " exclaimed the young
man, joyously, out of his own thoughts.
Edward raised his eyes and stared at him
with the greatest astonishment and dis-
pleasure ; then moved to Lilith's side and
kept guard over her the whole way back to
"raiLITH TUROLD!" thought Tom ;
' — -' "and now I am in the same house
with her, and I am goings to live in a place
where I shall see her every day ! "
No more practical reflections came into
the foolish lad's thoughts ; for he was new
to love, and it swept him off his feet and
whirled him away before he at all realized
what it was that had happened. After
sitting for a long time in his room, smiling
and doing nothing, his eye fell at last on a
letter patiently awaiting his attention the
whole afternoon. It was from Grace Kidson,
who had stayed behind in Alexandria ; and
Tom broke the seal now with very languid
attention, for he was preoccupied, and
74 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Grace's epistles were apt to be long and a
little highflown and tedious.
Indeed, this one, as he read it, seemed
almost nonsense to him. Trifling about
English bluejackets, and philanthropic ladies
in '' beautiful, self-denying, voluntary exile ; "
one of them, the friend who had helped
Grace with her little English Convalescent
Home, and who, to say truth, had left it very
awkwardly in the lurch by sudden desire for
missionary work in the East : " which, indeed,
was reasonable," wrote Grace, " considering
her attainments in Arabic, though as yet
her work here is chiefly among Europeans.
Her humility strikes me as very lovely."
Tom skipped a little here and tried again
on the next page. *' Lydia and I sat up
half the night discussing our work In the
dear past together. She remembers each
one of our patients in the Home, and asked
me so much about them and about our move
to the larger house. And now, Tom, I
come to the point of this letter. You
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 75
remember my dear consumptive woman with
the bad husband ? Of course you do, for
you told me you had seen her before ever I
did. Well, her greatest wish, now she is
dying, is to find that wretched man to assure
him of her pardon. And what do you
think ? Lydia Farrant has seen him — here,
in Alexandria, some months ago. He was
on his way to Upper Egypt. Tom, yo2c
may come across him there. You remember
his name ? And if so, do please speak to
him of his duty "
At this point Tom threw the letter away,
and got up rubbing his forehead with a look
of extreme annoyance. Grace was really
too silly, both in the things she herself under-
took and in those she expected of other
Then tinkled the dinner-bell ; and Tom
dressed hurriedly, and, having thrust the
unfinished letter into his pocket, he started
for the dining-room, still looking vexed.
Some trifling disarrangement of his watch-
76 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
chain detained him in the passage; and while
he was putting himself in order, a gust of
wind blew a door suddenly open, and he
heard fragments of a conversation going
on in the room it belonged to.
*' If it was a mere question of a girl," said
a lady's voice, " I wouldn't press you,
Edward. But by your dilatoriness, to run
the risk of losing such a splendid posi-
" Of course," interrupted a quiet, slightly
sneering voice, " the position is the im-
portant point ; Lilith herself is of no con-
sequence. But you know Gilbert is certain
to marry again."
" The prize is so great," urged the lady,
'* that it is absurd to lose a chance of obtain-
ing it. Even if Gilbert does marry again,
Lilith may still be his heir."
" Quite so," said the other ; '' I will secure
her at once. And now let us go down to
dinner, my dear mother, or Princess Lilith
will lose all patience with us both."
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. "JJ
Tom marched down the stairs, his head
erect, and his brows drawn together alarm-
ingly, for, like a young gamecock, he was
ready to fly at any shadow of a rival. This
man Vane was a suitor for Miss Turold's
hand, was he ? And a vile, mercenary suitor
too ? And besides that— —
Edward Vane sat at the head of the dinner
table ; next to him, Lilith ; next to her, his
mother; at the other side, the LP. Edward
talked to Lilith, and conversed also in
admirable French with the gentleman from
Paris. No one spoke to the Important
Party ; but, with the exception of young
Palmer who was watching Miss Turold,
they chattered much and noisily among
themselves. The boy with the fly-whisk
solemnly fanned the doctor, and the private
servants ran hither and thither with wine
and ice which Sir Joseph had brought from
Shepheard's in two great chests. The
foreigners were lost in amazement at these
Britons, and Lady Caroline Vane exchanged
yS THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
with Miss Frost a few contemptuous re-
Having taken a not unnatural antipathy
to the whole Important Party, Edward felt
his nerves too much jarred to remain after
dinner in their vicinity. His cup of
Turkish coffee in his hand, he retired to his
own room and sat down to his magazine
essay ; for it was his practice to avoid idle-
ness and to think as little as possible, a
habit which obtains when thought is apt to
be disagreeable. But the grounds had not
yet settled in his coffee, and he had not yet
selected a satisfactory pen, before he re-
ceived a visit from Tom Palmer ; who was
still wearing his air of exasperated game-
cock with ruffled feathers, angry spurs, and
" Damn your impudence ! " said the wonder
in Edward Vane's handsome brown eves,
but his lips with cold civility offered his
visitor welcome and a chair. Tom declined
the latter and made no reply to Edward's
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 79
random observations on the heat, the moon,
and the noise in the pubHc saloon. He had
come on a serious matter, and could think of
" I want to speak to you," said young
Palmer bluntly, " about a woman named
** Sarah Williams ? " repeated Edward.
" I don't know any one of that name." He
scarcely looked at his visitor, and betrayed
'' You do know her ! " cried Tom ; " her
name is now the same as your own. She
is your wife ! "
'* I am really obliged to you for the in-
formation," said Edward, smiling, and
delicately sipping his unstrained coffee.
" But I saw you married," said Tom.
'* Yes. I knew Sarah. I knew you — by
sight. It was my first term at Cambridge.
Sarah was my bedmaker's sister."
" Are you really a university man ? As
8o THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
to an acquaintance with a bedmaker s
sister " Edward shrugged his shoulders,
intimating that such a possIblHty was no fit
subject for discussion. He was growing
" I had run up to town one day to see
my father. He had a shop in the Gray's
Inn Road then. As I was passing I saw
Sarah go into St. Chad's Church, which, I
suppose, is about the least known church In
London. Something in her look made me
curious, and I went Into the church after her.
I saw you there, and I saw you and her
" You are sure It was I ? "
" Quite sure."
Edward Vane reflected, drinking his coffee
"Well," he said at last, " I never entangle
myself in useless lies. Your information is
correct. May I Inquire what It Is you
want ? "
THE IMPORTANT PARTY, 8 I
Just then a knock came at the door and
" Edward ! Edward ! aren't you coming
out ? There's such a moon. Let's have
Edward was very pale now. He held up
his hand warningly, then opened the door
a little without disclosing his visitor and
stepped Into the passage.
'' In ten minutes, Lllith. By the time
your hat Is on."
He returned, again demanding silence till
the girl had passed out of earshot.
''You will understand, Mr. Palmer," said
Edward, with white lips, ''that the matter
we were discussing Is not to be mentioned
to my mother or my cousin."
" I shall certainly mention It," burst out
Tom, hotly, " if I see you making love to
that young lady."
" Your remark is insulting," said Edward
more quietly than ever ; and for a moment
the two looked at each other — Tom, checked,
VOL. I. 6
82 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
but Still with flashing eyes of great wrath,
and Edward with calm, sad ones, which
" The honour of a gentleman," began
Edward, at last, *'when he finds he has
intruded into a secret "
'' I see you don't consider me a gentle-
man," interrupted the other ; '' my father is
a tradesman. Perhaps I don't know much
about honour, but I do about honesty."
" My dear sir," said Edward, bending his
head graciously, " honour and honesty are
synonyms, and the sharp lines you draw
between classes are out of date. We are
all gentlemen already, and we shall all be
tradesmen in the course of the next ^v^
and twenty years. May I again ask what
it is you want ? "
After this bad beginning it was not
possible to do much as to Grace's ill-judged
commission, and Tom, indeed, had no interest
in it himself. He spoke with embarrass-
ment, conscious now of officiousness. Sarah
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 83
Williams, or Vane, the woman in question,
was ill, disowned, deserted, dependent
upon the charity of a young lady philan-
" You are mistaken," said Edward, " I
have done everything for her which is in-
cumbent upon me. She is taking the lady
philanthropist in. Through my lawyer I
have accurate information of her health.
In a few days she will be dead, and the
tie between us severed ; not having owned
it before, I have not the faintest intention
of owning it now. Unless, Mr. Palmer, you
are a pronounced sentimentalist, you will
understand that I do not look forward with
any regret to my wife's death."
" Why did you marry her ? " cried Tom,
simple himself, and brought up by simple
people who thought marriages eternal and
Edward raised his eyebrows.
" Why .'^ Because I was a fool, sir, and
she was a humbug. There you have the
84 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Story in a nutshell. It is obliging of me to
answer these questions, which I might, if I
chose, consider impertinent. If you have
more to say I will refer you to my lawyer.
The subject is distasteful to me."
Thus the interview ended, and Tom went
angrily downstairs. The graces of Edward's
manner had made him conscious of his own
rudeness, though he still had the enthusiasm
of a knight-errant rushing to deliver an
innocent damsel from the wiles of a villain.
Edward, very pale as he pressed his hand
to his throbbing brow, delayed a moment
before joining his cousin. '' That coarse
brute will tell her," he said to himself.
'' I see he is going to fall in love with
her, and she is coquette enough to amuse
herself with him for a day or two, in
which space of time he can ruin me.
The right thing would be to make a clean
breast of it to Lilith myself She might
forgive it, told so ; and Sarah, who has been
dying for two years, cannot live beyond a
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 85
week now." But he sighed, doubting Lilith's
affection, and doubting his own power of
making a touching confession : a fiction
Edward could utter glibly and gracefully
enough ; truths made him stammer. And he
had a firm conviction that the star under which
he had been born was an unlucky one.
Five minutes later he was in the presence
of the innocent and sparkling Lllith. It was
not yet nine, and the moon was magnificent.
Miss Frost and the German archseoloQ^Ist
were waiting with the girl, and the donkeys
*'As you didn't come, Edward," cried
Lllith, " we have settled it all for you. We
are going to Karnak."
While she spoke, a noisy altercation was
in progress between Sir Joseph Kidson and
'' My father, yes," said the latter,
vehemently, " one dahabeah here, but no
sailor men, no servant men for to cook the
dinner and ring the bells."
86 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
"• Then engage the men to-night ! " shouted
Sir Joseph ; '' money Is no h'object with
'' But, my big sir. men all finished,"
groaned the dragoman.
** He means," interposed Tom, pacifically,
'' that we must wait for the next steamer."
** But Fm not going to wait in a beastly
hole like this, where there's nothing to do
and the climate is so Indigestible ! I'll return
to Cairo in a private boat to-morrow. It's
an Imposition of Cook's, the whole thing.
I won't be taken in ; I'll write to the Times,
I'm an Englishman, not a Mossoo ; and I've
come abroad for my 'ealth, sir. Do you hear
me, Tom ? Order the private boat, or
whatever the fool calls it, for to-morrow."
"For my own part," said Tom, sighing,
'' I like this place very much."
" Come with us now'' whispered Lilith,
'' if you are really going to-morrow."
'' I misdoubt that," whispered Tom, smiling
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. Sj
"Lilith," said Edward, "we have been
to Karnak by moonlight too often as it is.
I don't vote for this expedition."
The German now put on his spectacles
and advanced into the middle of the group.
'' If we could get to Koorneh," he said,
" I should explain to you, Herr Vane, my
important discovery of Seti divining by the
Sirius and the pole-star ; and the mystic-
side-temple-room-hole. He did go down
by ze roof. It is what you see not by
sunshine, and the go-up is not difficult, except
to a stout like me. It will instruct these
ladies. So ? "
" Oh yes, Edward, let us do that ! " cried
Lillth, overruling all objections ; '' we shall
be home by one o'clock. When you go to
a ball, Edward, you are never home by one,
are you ? Achmed, is the ferry-boat ready,
and can we get the donkeys across ? "
Then she turned to Tom again. '' If you
go to-morrow, Mr. Palmer, this is the 07ie
SS THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
chance you have of seeing Koorneh and the
Colossi. Indeed, if I were you, I'd push on
to the tombs. They have saddled Oilskin
for you, I see ; and perhaps you'll have the
joy of another tumble ! "
The Princess got her way, of course,
though Edward objected and Miss Frost
would have preferred her bed. Soon the
whole party were on the other side of the
Nile, and talking and laughing with the
pleasant sense of doing something spirited.
The mighty Oilskin set off at once at full
speed across the desert, and Lilith required
her cousin^s assistance to prevent California,
My Dear from following him. Still keeping
his hand on her rein, Edward withdrew the
girl to the tail of the procession. Already
Lilith was feeling a little annoyed with him,
and was prepared to contradict everything
" My dear Lilith," remonstrated Edward,
'' why are you bent on turning that poor
Goth's head ? Considering that at home
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 89
he's to be your next-door neighbour, you
should take care how you prepare awkward-
nesses for yourself and every one else."
" Oh, nonsense ! " said Lilith, reddening
and answering at random ; " neither he
nor I will be stuck at home for ever, I
" I don't see what you mean," said
Edward, coldly ; *' and Molesworthy is quite
within reach of annoyance from Silcote
''Well, I'm sure I don't see v^\i2Xyou mean,
Edward ! Lady Caroline said something
about inviting me in August, I believe.
Are you going to have visitors at Moles-
worthy this autumn, Edward ? "
" I don't know about this autumn. I
hope to have visitors some day. If you will
play hostess, Lilith."
The girl stared.
*' How very odd you are, Edward! How
could /play hostess .'^ " She met her cousin's
eye, in which was a certain pathos, and
90 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
blushed suddenly and looked down, expect-
ing him to go on. Edward remained silent.
" You shouldn't be so ambiguous, Edward ! "
she laughed. '' Pray was that a proposal ? '*
" To say ' no,' " thought Edward, *' would
be the snub direct."
'' Lilith, yes."
'* Did Lady Caroline send you to do
it ? " said Lilith, not sure if he were not
'' I think I may really say she did."
'' Dear me ! And papa too, I suppose ? "
'' Oh, certainly."
" Edward, I don't like this way of talking.
What on earth do you mean ? "
He laid his hand on hers.
'' That the arrangement hinted at would
meet with the approbation of our elders."
Lilith snatched her hand away.
'' Edward ! IVe only had one proposal
before, but I have read a great many, and
you are the very first person I ever heard
THE IMPORTANT PARTY, QT
of who began about the approbation of
" You see, I had meant to put this con-
versation off a bit," said Edward, in his
ironic way, but looking troubled.
" Really, Edward — till when, pray ? "
" Till I thought you would accept me."
The girl looked him up and down in
" Do you wish it yourself ? " she
stammered — " this arrangement which you
think would please our elders ? "
'' Very much," began Edward, still with
apparent coldness ; " but, Lilith, I know this
is premature. You had better forget it, dear
child, for the present, till you "
Lilith struck California a smart tap and
cantered on a little way, then pulled up
'' Edward, you are too odd. You begin,
and then you draw back. You've been told
to do it, I suppose, and can't quite work
92 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
yourself up to it. I'll never be friends with
you again ! " cried the girl. '' How dare
you say one word about it, if you don't
mean it ? "
Her lip quivered indignantly; yet Edward
was still silent, staring straight between his
donkey's ears. At this moment Tom Palmer,
still at the head of the party, turned round
and looked back at Lilith and her companion.
" He intends to tell her," groaned Edward
Vane, inwardly. *' Good God ! to be in the
power of a brute like that ! This is my
only chance of setting myself right with
Then he said, '' I should like to explain,
Lilith dear, if you would have patience."
" Well, go on ; I am not impatient, am I,
Edward '^ But you must speak plainly,
and not in this rude, jesting way. Do you
wish to marry me, Edward, or do you not ?
Or is this all to please papa .^ "
Even in the moonlight Lilith could see
his pallor, and was half frightened.
THE IMPORTANT PARTY.
'' I do wish it, Lilith, more than I can
express ; only — not just yet."
" I won't marry you at all ! Not yet ?
It's such a strange thing to say ! "
" I want you to engage yourself to me,"
said Edward, desperately. '* Wish it ? I
could never express to you, Lilith, how
much I wish it. It was your mother's wish.
For Heaven's sake, don't say yoic don't
wish it ! "
"Of course, darling mother's wish "
began Lilith, more gently.
** Lilith — Lilith, promise!" exclaimed
The girl was beginning to believe in his
"If you are sure you haven't an aversion
to me," she said, laughing nervously. '' I
always supposed it might come to this,
Edward, but I can't half understand you
She was near crying, for it seemed to her
that she was bidding good-bye to all romance
94 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
and all hope of love (too undignified a thing
for Miss Turold) for ever.
Edward was off his beast in a moment,
and had thrown his arm round her. But
Lllith drew back scared. Unsurprised to
find she had engaged herself to her cousin,
the idea that he was going to kiss her filled
her nevertheless with dismay.
'' Edward, no ! no ! not here, please. Not
now. I don't wish it, Edward ! " she cried.
He retired. xA.fter all, it was only what
he had expected ; he did not think that Lilith
loved him. But come, he had her promise !
Her dead mother had helped him effectually ;
Lilith had consented. They moved on
silently, Edward leading his donkey with one
hand on California, My Dear. He was still
thinking with exasperation of Tom Palmer.
** Lilith, after all I have not explained
why I said ' not yet.' You believe that
It Is not because I don't love you ? "
*' I like to think you are fond of me,
Edward," said the innocent girl, blushing.
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 95
'' I suppose you think Tm too young, and
that papa will wish a delay ; but I — I don't
know that he and grandpapa "
" My God ! yes, there must be delay,"
exclaimed Edward, harshly, the veins
starting on his forehead. '' I'd like to say
marry me to-morrow, Lilith ; but I can't do
it. Simply I can't. Lilith, you must listen.
I should not tell you if I were not forced
to it — by a sense of duty," said Edward, with
more policy than truth. " Will you be
merciful, Lilith, my dearest Lilith ? "
" Dear me, Edward ! have you been
doing anything wrong ? " asked the young
creature, very much mystified and a good
'' No, Lilith, I have done nothing wrong.
No. But listen : once, long ago, I did do
something incredibly foolish. The effects
of my folly are all but at an end. In a
month, a week, by the next post perhaps,
I shall learn that I am free. Our engage-
ment must wait, Lilith. I am not free to-day.
96 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Lilith, you will never see her, never hear
of her again from me or from any one.
She is dying, is dead I dare say by this time.
But, good God ! Lilith, — she is my wife."
The girl was too young to feel anything
but ignorant horror and indignation as she
faintly echoed his concluding words.
'' Your wife ? " she said ; then repeated, in
a low yet ringing voice of keen displeasure,
" your wife, Edward ? And you have been
asking me to marry you ? "
Lilith struck her donkey and galloped
away into the moonlight, leaving her com-
panion alone. He had not made a moving
confession. She was as much shocked as
if she had learned the truth from a stranger,
instead of from the penitent himself. She
galloped away into the moonlight, leaving
her cousin alone ; and at the moment he
was conscious of little more than a wish to
murder the wretched, rash, intruding fool
whose meddling had ruined his patient
playing of a delicate game.
p^OM PALMER was standing at the
^MMl entrance to the temple of Koorneh ;
leaning disconsolately against his donkey,
and watching the light-flooded path by which
he had come.
*' I fancy," said Miss Frost to the German,
" that young man is less boorish than we
supposed. Look at him standing there
entranced by the mere outside of these
" He looks to ze moon," said the German,
contemptuously ; and the pair passed into the
Presently Lilith rode up alone, with
frightened eyes ; searching anxiously for a
protector. Miss Frost, Achmed even, were
VOL. I. 7
THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
out of sight. Without waiting for help, she
jumped off her donkey and ran to Tom.
'' Let me walk with you," she said
Stepping by her side, Tom led her into
the central hall, which was chequered by
great bars of light across deep shadow. Lilith
paused, and leaning her head against one of
the darkened columns she covered her face
with her hands. So far she had kept back her
tears, but they forced their way now, burning
drops of indignation ; and Tom stood by
her without a word, his heart beating furiously.
After a minute he ventured to touch her,
laying one finger gently on her wrist.
'' Thank you," said Lilith, faintly. *' I'm
better now. You are very kind. I — have
been rather upset."
Then Edward entered, pale, but quite
calm. He had delayed outside asking the
guides which way the ladies had gone, and
bargaining with the ubiquitous scarab-
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 99
Lilith dashed her tears away and stood
"Stay with me, Mr. Palmer," she said
hastily ; " let him go on."
Edward threw them a glance and passed
in through a small chamber to the west of
the hall with the papyrus stalk columns,
where Amen Ra and the first Rameses are
recelvlno; the latter's grandson, and Thoth
is ticking off Pharaoh's praises on a palm
Tom looked again at the agitated girl.
Holding the clue, he was able to make some
guess at what had happened, but to Lilith
his reserve and tact seemed miraculous
He was gently leading her on, when INIiss
Frost appeared, running.
*' Oh, my dear Miss Turold ! " she cried,
''do pray remonstrate with your cousin.
Such a place as Herr Stiehl and he are
climbing to ! It is positively not safe. No
explanation of a pole-star is worth it."
lOO THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
'' Could you take me home, do you
think ? " said Lillth abruptly to Tom, turn-
ing from the harmless lady.
And now from within a shout was heard
and a low rumble. Then a crash of falling
masonry, another cry, and a thud as if some
one had fallen ; and then again the clatter of
stones and the rumble of things slipping,
slipping endlessly. Miss Frost screamed,
and ran hither and thither wrinsfinof her
hands ; and Lilith turned a frightened gaze
to her companion.
*' I will go and see what is the matter,"
he said ; while Achmed and the donkey-
boys ran up, and Herr Stiehl was seen
approaching, his clothes torn and powdered
and his face cut.
'' It is my failure," cried the German, in-
coherently. ''I am a schtout, and I do move
small schtones as we mount. The young
gentleman gifs me his hand, but I slip and
I jomp back, and the schtones go into holes
and he falls. He falls not far, no; but he
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. lOJ
rises not up ; and because I am a schtout, I
fear myself to go down to him or he bury
As he spoke he was hurrying them on,
leading the way to a ruin of fallen roof and
broken columns beyond the western hall ;
and when he and Tom had climbed over a
mass of some height, he pointed to a chasm
where were signs of recent disturbance, and
where heavy blocks had poised themselves
temporarily on insecure resting-places.
Tom lay down at full length and peered
into the dark cavity. A faint reflection of
moonllofht showed him Edward's white face
and open eyes, below but at no great
'' Are you hurt ? " asked Tom.
** Not much," answered Edward, faintly,
*' but my leg is jammed. Mind what you
do ; everything is loose."
**We must have a light," said Tom.
" Hold out a minute as you are and I'll come
to you." He pushed Achmed and the boys
I02 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
back from the slippery heap and retreated
himself. " But what a mad place to have
got into!" he said to the German. *' It's
like climbing over egg-shells. We shall
hardly get the man out without crushing
"You are a schtout too," said Herr Stiehl,
surveying the young English giant in a
manner not wholly complimentary. "Just
now you lie on that big schtone which make
ze bridge, but because you are a schtout you
roll away two schtone more ; and when you
go on ze bridge next to get to ze hole where
lie ze gentleman, the bridge and you to-
gether go down into ze hall of the four
pillars ; and the bridge break, and you do
break too, and the young gentleman bury ;,
or else he fall through the bottom of ze hole
into ze hall of the four pillars and break
" I must have a rope," said Tom, not
understanding this jargon, but surveying
the bridge alluded to with keen suspicion.
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. IO3
The rabble produced sashes and linen
garments, which they tore and knotted in a
spendthrift way, till they had made a long
strincr of no o^reat strencrth. Then Herr
Stiehl and Miss Frost withdrew arm-in-arm»
and Tom chased the donkey-boys away with
" I am going to stay here and watch," said
Lilith, pale but resolute.
''There is no danger," said Tom, taking
off his coat, " if I can manage to displace
nothing. If I am a schtout, as the old
mossoo says, it will help me to wrestle with
the weight on your friend's leg."
" Stout ? " said Lilith, with the curious
triviality of agitation. '* That is not what
he meant. You are not stout. Herr Stiehl's
English is not at all good."
Tom jumped the so-called bridge, really
with considerable trepidation ; for he had no
run to speak of, light there was almost none,
and he had no faith that the thino^ he was
jumping on to was in the least secure. When
I04 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
he saw the leap begin, Achmed uttered
a long howl of horror ; which, without break,
turned into peals of triumph as the English-
man cleared the chasm, and landed, stagger-
ing but safe, on the other side. Sitting on
the stones and laughing, Tom looked back at
Lilith and saw that her slim white fingers
were clutching the rock nervously. She had
been frightened by the leap, though she had
not realized its actual danger.
Tom disappeared down the cavity in which
Edward was imprisoned ; and for a time
Lilith saw only the faint red glow of the
flickering candle and the occasional brilliant
flashes cast by the magnesium wire. She
heard talking for a few minutes; then muffled
noises and quick, short groans. At last, by
the force of Tom's arm, aided by the im-
provised rope, Edward was lifted out into
the air again, where the first thing he did
was to faint away from the pain of his
*' Shall I come to you ? " called Lilith.
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. IO5
'' No, no, Miss Turold, on no account,"
cried Tom, aghast. *' But find my flask,
please, in my coat-pocket and throw it
over to me," he said, smiHng at her reas-
Edward revived after a few moments, and
then Tom, having surveyed him and the
situation critically, picked him up bodily in
his arms and carried him up a few steep
steps to a position of greater security and
By this time the moon was going down,
and she no longer poured her beams upon
the ruins ; the large bats which haunt all
Egyptian temples were wheeling about in
full activity, uttering their peculiar shriek,
more eerie than any other natural sound.
'' I am a fool to take this leap again," said
Tom to himself, as he prepared to jump
back ; for the longing to hear Lilith's sweet
voice speaking to himself was irresistible
and he yielded to it.
'' You are very strong," murmured the girl.
I06 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
raising her eyes to his ; and the young man
flushed dehghtedly at her praise.
Then he told her that it was impossible to
get the injured man across the broken bridge,
unassisted ; and that, in the present darkness,
to look for another exit was impossible too.
He would himself remain with Edward, and
the rest of the party must return at once to
the hotel for assistance ; and " for our doctor
chap," ended Tom, ** who will come in handy
*' Let the others go," said Lilith. '' I will
stay here with you. And you mustn't jump
over that fearful place again, Mr. Palmer.
We can talk to Edward and cheer him up
from here." It was a dangerously charming
proposal, and Tom hesitated. But having
made his second jump to please himself, it
was a point of honour now not to shirk the
return to his post; and clearly Lilith ought to
go home. He steeled his heart and ordered
her away; then jumping, though safely, a
little less cleverly than before, the shock of
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. T07
his welcrht loosened the stones of the
treacherous bridge upon which he had not
dared to set his foot, and they slipped away
and were smashed in the hall below.
" Look what you walked over half an
hour ago," said Tom, settling himself down
for his watch beside the victim of the
"■ I am indebted to you for your assistance,
sir," said Edward, coldly ; and turned away,
enraged by his own helplessness and by the
conviction that this man and Lilith had
some understanding together, if only the
understanding that she had quarrelled with
After this they were chiefly silent, waiting
there together in the dark, Edward in great
suffering, which he steadily denied. The
hours passed slowly ; now and then the
hideous howl of the jackals was heard below
in the deserted hall ; and once the lean form
and the blazing eyes of one night wanderer
appeared on a broken shaft near the watchers,
THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
visible in the faint light of the earliest dawn.
At last, to Tom's relief, Dr. Harris and
the rescue party arrived, and Edward was
safely transported to Luxor.
FTER this Lilith had much time for
for nursing her grievance
her cousin, and for fuming with
annoyance that, when he had behaved so
disgracefully, she should be expected to be
sorry for his accident and kind to him.
Edward had taken to his bed, and Lady
Caroline, of course, sat in her son's room
as head-nurse. In her first agitation she
accepted assistance from Lady Kidson ; an
act of weakness which she quickly regretted,
and for w^hich she apologized to Lilith a
orreat deal more than the orirl thought
necessary. The young couple with the
sister returned to Cairo by the first steamer,
but the Kidsons stayed on to be of *' h'use ; "
no THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Harris could not leave his patient, and
Tom Palmer and the Howes professed to
like Luxor and to remain for their own
amusement. '' I see I have brought a nest
of hornets about me," said Lady Caroline,
when her anxiety about her son was lessened,
and the LP. were still in the house.
For poor Lady Kidson, in her effusive kind-
liness, did certainly become a little trying.
" The hotel-keeper was going to grumble at
'aving to keep his 'ouse open so long," she
said to the stately mother of the invalid ;
" but I told 'im it would be a feather in his
'at to 'ave two ladies of title staying so long
with him ; and parties who don't mind extra
charges." And she showed her beautiful
Grace's photograph and praised the lovely
education Sir Joseph had given her ; and
said her ofreat wish now was that her ^vc\
should move in stylish society, and that as
they all lived at Molesworthy it would be
quite convenient, if her ladyship liked to
introduce her a little.
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 1 1 I
" I am more sorry than I can say, Lilith,"
said Lady Caroline, "that you should be
exposed to contact with such dreadful
people. It is fortunate you have Miss
Frost to go sketching with ; and it is an
opportunity for you to improve your
German by conversation with Herr Stiehl."
*' Yes, indeed," said Lilith ; " I am really
not a bit lonely."
But not the German archaeologist, nor the
English old maid, nor even Achmed the
dragoman was Lilith's invariable companion
when she went out sketching, or exploring,
or mere donkey-galloping in the long, sultry,
rose-tinted afternoons on the borders of the
most wonderful river in the world. The
days glided deliciously on like a summer
holiday in an enchanted country ; and Lilith
Turold bothered herself neither about Lady
Kidson's poverty in h's, nor about Edward
Vane's broken leg, but was entirely con-
tent and happy.
Till a day came, after a week or two of
112 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
this tranquillity, when the down steamer was
again expected, and the question had come
up again if the Important Party, leaving
Harris perhaps, ought not now to go away.
The khamseen was blowing, and had
driven everybody indoors. Lady Caroline
was with her son ; Lady Kidson and Louisa
were packing ; Sir Joseph was asleep ; and
Dr. Harris was smoking and playing ecarte
with Jim Howe, in very light costume in
a bedroom. Tom Palmer and Lilith Turold
had the readino^-room to themselves : and
they were singing together at the jingly
little piano, which for some occult reason
seemed to Tom, the musician, the most
delicious instrument he had ever come across.
There can be no doubt that, for a damsel
professedly ''fond of music," a young man
with gifts like Tom's was a dangerous
companion. He seemed able to play from
memory whatever she asked for, and he
could play out of his head too, which was to
her something absolutely magical. But all
THE IMPORTANT PARTY.
this was nothinof to his sinQfine. He had
a magnificent voice of great compass and
exquisite tone, which could thunder hke the
sea, or be modulated to a clear, soft whisper
like '' the voice of a soul." At least so it
seemed to Lilith. iVnd in Mr. Palmers
present frame of mind, the most wildly
passionate love songs were what suited him
best. Lilith shivered now and then as she
listened, and a lump came in her throat
very frequently and a dew on her eyelashes,
which she hoped the singer did not observe.
" Oh love ! my love ! If I no more should see
Thyself, nor on the earth the shadow of thee,
Nor image of thine eyes in any spring,
How then should sound, upon Life's darkening slope,
The groundwhirl of the perished leaves of Hope,
The wind of Death's imperishable wing ! "
It was no use ! Lilith turned away with
a little laugh which ended in a sob, and
threw herself on a sofa near the darkened
window ; and Tom, after sweeping wildly
over the keys for a minute or two, ended
with a few grand chords, and then went and
VOL. I. 8
114 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
Stood beside her. Evening was falling-, and
the pitiless sand pelting the glass in quick,
hot gusts seemed to make the twilight
tremulous. Sand spouts were whirling along
at the edge of the river like dancing ghosts ;
but the stream and the mountains, where are
the tombs of the kings, were all blotted out ;
the very garden flowers and shrubs were
dimmed as if something had pushed all life
and nature away behind a veil. And the
two young creatures, with music ringing in
their ears and thrilling in their finger-ends,
seemed the two only things left distinct and
clear to each other in the whole world.
Full of tears were Lilith's eyes, and she
met Tom's ardent gaze the more steadily
that she knew the fall of one eyelash would
betray her with obvious drops.
'* You liked that song ? " said he at last in
a very low voice, which yet to her was dis-
tinct as to him her white dress and black
ribbons and small clenched fist were distinct
ao-ainst the fog of the storm - darkened
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. II5
windows. And when she made no answer,
he suddenly stretched out his hands to
her, and said her name, all the music
still vibratinor in his voice and hushinor
her to complete surrender as he took her
hands and held them pressed tightly in
his quivering clasp. He waited a moment,
which seemed long to them both in this
mood of excited expectancy ; then bent over
her slowly, slowly, nearer and nearer, till his
lips met hers. Lilith gave one little
smothered cry, but made no sort of resist-
ance. *' Oh love ! my love ! " murmured
Tom, both her hands still crushed in his,
and his right arm thrown round her, pressing
her closely to his breast while he kissed her.
At last he drew back with a triumphant
joy upon his face, which gave him, to her
eyes, the burning glory of the conquering
St. Michael. The moment was too good to
be hurried, even if Tom could have quieted
his voice to speak at once.
But now the sudden banelne of a door
Il6 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
made them both start ; and stately, rather
heavy steps were heard Inexorably advanc-
ing. Lilith jumped up and busied herself
with loose sheets of music at the piano, and
in sailed the Lady Caroline Vane.
She had not the faintest suspicion of what
had been going on ; certainly not : but she
thought the young man wore a singularly
fatuous expression, and she reproved him
for not assisting Miss Turold to recover her
wind - tossed songs and sonatas. Lilith
thought his St. Michael glory must inevi-
tably betray him to her relative If she did
not sret him out of the room at once.
Nervously and hastily she sent him for
Bougalnvillia from the balcony ; and once
he was safely disposed of, she fled away
herself, ostensibly to change her frock for
dinner. The tender moment was interrupted
and ended and hopelessly spoiled, even as
*' the tyrannous breathing of the north shakes
all the buds from growing."
Tom fought the khamseen valiantly in
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. II7
the garden, and procured a scarlet hibiscus
flower from the farthest corner. It was
wind-blown and sand-swept, but Lilith wore
it in her hair at dinner ; and all through
that tiresome meal Tom's eyes glowed with
the triumphant love-light, and whenever he
looked at the torn red blossom of his pluck-
ing, read in it a message of her love.
The moment dinner was over Lilith fled
away to solitude ; and Tom also went to his
own room and knelt by the table, his head
buried in his arms, and all wild whirling
exultation of ecstasy surging In his heart.
^' Oh love ! my love ! " he murmured half
aloud, and shook with happiness ; and on
the swallow wings of joy he was off and
away into the dim future, building airy castle
after castle there, always with Lilith by his
side. Well, dreams are true while they last ;
and do we not live in dreams ?
But as for Lilith, she did no castle build-
ing at all — only lay awake all night and
Il8 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Next mornino: the stern-wheeler arrived
from Assiout, bringing letters. The return
boat was expected in the evening, and mine
host was inclined to turn everybody out,
even the invalided Edward. All the com-
pany were making plans, and Lilith could
not escape from Lady Caroline's conversa-
tion, though her lover was uncomfortably
hovering about and waiting to claim her
the moment she could escape from her
*' Mr. Vane, sir, will be obliged if you will
speak to him for a minute," said a rnessenger.
Tom shot a hasty glance at Lilith, and
her eyes did apprehensively answer his this
time. What in the world could Edward
have to say to Tom Palmer 1 In their
young self-importance, each supposed the
matter most in their own minds must pre-
dominate also in Edward's.
Tom obeyed the summons. The invalid
was sitting up in his bed, a cage over his
broken leg. He looked worn by illness, and
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. II9
was certainly handsomer than ever in his
languor. Tom had not seen him since his
accident, and now that he had himself been
kissed by Lilith, he was quite disposed for
Edward did not speak at once ; his hands
were behind his head, and his eyes fixed
absently on the brilliant sky, which had not
yet assumed its midday aspect of burnished
steel. Then he shook himself impatiently
and turned to Tom.
"Your young lady philanthropist — is she
not, by the way, a handsome girl whom I
examined in Natural Science a year or two
ago, at Newnham College ? — have you heard
from her ? "
** From Miss Kidson '^ No," said Tom.
*' Ah [ lawyers get information quicker
than philanthropists," said Edward, and
handed him a letter. " As you are interested
in my concerns, I may as well keep you up
in them. Sarah, nee Williams, is dead."
Tom blundered into all the wrong remarks
I20 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
of course ; and Edward was chiefly silent,
sneering a little.
'' Thanks for your criticisms and your
congratulations, Mr. Palmer. If I might
tender a little advice — I am your senior,
I think } — I should say, next time when you
meddle in another man's matters remember
the result of your interference this time. If
you had kept to your own business, I should
not now have a broken leg and a probable
limp for the future ; I should be engaged
to Miss Turold, and I dare say I should be
on excellent terms with yourself. Oh, never
mind," he went on, " I dare say the leg will
mend, and if I do limp I am not so vain as
Lord Byron ; and I shall marry Miss Turold
all the same. I don't pardon you ; that
" I don't think Miss Turold will marry
you," said Tom, with the gentle c^uelty he
would have used in slaying a cockroach.
'' You will oblige me by not discussing
Miss Turold," said Edward, quickly, drawing
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 121
himself up. Then he laughed. '' Perhaps
you think she will marry you, Mr. Palmer ?
Harris tells me Some of these days
I fear you'll be getting a lesson, my dear
sir, just as I have had my lesson. Women
don't forgive blunders in these matters. Cat
must after kind, according to them, first and
last too. Do you consider yourself cat or
kind, Mr. Palmer ? I advise you to go and
ask Miss Turold."
Tom was bewildered and even abashed,
for all this was said with much politeness
of voice and dignified grace ; and then
Edward held out his hand and apologized
for the tedium of a sick man's acrid temper ;
and he asked his visitor to convey a note
from him to Miss Turold. The note was
unfolded, and Tom saw the words, '* My
wife is dead. Say one kind word to me,
" I did not ask you to read it, Mr. Palmer,"
Tom flushed and tossed it back.
122 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
"Do your business yourself," he said
Edward laughed, sealed the note, and gave
it to him again. *' One meddler is bad
enough," he said, ''but I prefer it to half
It gave Tom a •mmivais quart (TheMre
afterwards to reflect that before he had
further speech with Lilith, she had received
this communication from her cousin, and had
answered it ; how, her lover knew not.
He did not get hold of her himself till
the afternoon. Lilith seemed to be avoid-
ing him ; shyness, Tom supposed. But his
elation was somehow dwindling. Why would
she not look at him ? Why when she spoke
to him was it petulantly '^. Why, above all,
was she so pale and trouble-eyed to-day ?
" If you must, Mr. Palmer," said the girl,
*' well, you will find me in the summer-house,
if you aren't afraid of the heat. But what
is the good ? We finished all we had to
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 1 23
*' Not quite, I think, Lilith" said Tom,
smiling ; and she turned away.
At the hour of siesta he followed her to
the garden summer-house, which certainly
felt uncommonly like an oven.
''May I ask, Mr. Palmer," said Lilith,
pinching her fingers nervously, and speaking
v/Ith haste and some little defiance, ''why
you have taken up the idea that you may
call me by my Christian name ? I don't
wish it. I nevc7' gave you leave."
" Lilith ! " exclaimed Tom, in sheer as-
tonishment. "Have I vexed you?" he asked
humbly ; and she tapped her foot im-
patiently and said nothing. Tom racked
his brains to think what he could have done.
" Is it because, after what happened yester-
day, I have not yet Darling! don't be
angry with me ! I would not offend you
for all the world. And surely you knew
the words were on my lips."
" What words ? I don't want you to say
any words ! " said Lilith, faintly.
124 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
'' Let me say them now. I love you,
Lilith. I want you for my "
'' Oh, you mustn't say such things to me ! "
cried the girl, starting up. "Take your
hands away. You mustn't touch me. You
^now I don't wish this ! "
Tom stepped back, and there was a long
silence. Lilith kept her eyes obstinately
closed and her head averted, but was terribly
conscious of the young man's steady gaze.
At last she turned suddenly and met his
"Don't you ^mderstand?'' she said. "I
am sorry you have had such an absurd
notion. I couldn't possibly, Mr. Palmer.
Let me go in now, please, and don't say
" No," said Tom, quietly ; *' your answer
seems plain, but I don't understand.
" I am not bound to give you any reason."
'' You kissed me yesterday," said Tom,
in his low, musical voice, which set all her
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. I 25
heartstrino^s vibratino:. '' Doesn't that 2:ive
me a right to ask a reason ? "
'' Oh, I can't marry you. How could I
possibly? Don't you see it yourself? I
shouldn't be allowed. I shouldn't like it.
Are you stupid to ask for a reason ? You
are not — not one of us, Mr. Palmer. Don't
you see ? You must see."
" Yes, I see," said Tom, gently, turning
pale however. '' But if you loved me "
he began, slowly.
"You have no rio^ht to sus^Q^est such a
thing !" cried LiHth.
** You do not love me ? Why did you kiss
me, then ? " cried Tom, hurt and astonished.
" I wish I had done nothinor of the kind.
It was ridiculous. I didn't think what I was
doing. I meant nothing at all."
"Meant nothing? Oh, Lilith, do not say
it ! Can it be possible that you meant
nothing ? "
''No, I meant nothing. You shouldn't
presume in this way on a trifle. Let me
126 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
go, Mr. Palmer. I am sorry our pleasant
acquaintance has ended in this disagreeable
way. I did not think you would be so
foolish. Good-bye. We can be friends
still, I hope ? Ah, well," said Lilith, taking
back her hand which she had offered and
trying to appear offended, '* I wonder you
don't say something, Mr. Palmer. I wonder
you don't say you are sorry for having dis-
tressed me like this."
" A pleasant acquaintance ! " echoed Tom,
bitterly. '' Is that what you called me ?
And you kissed me, and meant notJiingf
Lilith passed on with all the dignity she
could muster, hoping she was making him
understand he was rude. But there was a
great lump in her throat all the same, for
she remembered the radiant happiness in his
face yesterday w^hen she had thought him
a triumphant and glorious St. Michael.
Tom and the rest of the Important Party
left Luxor that evening at seven o'clock,
and Lilith was very gay and talkative at the
THE IMPORTANT PARTY. I 27
leave-taking, embracing Mrs. Howe and
giving Lady Kidson one of her sketches.
" That beggar, Tom, has your portrait,
Miss Turold," said Howe. '' I'd have it
from him, if I were you. He'll be sell-
"■ Oh," said Lilith, merrily, '' the only
punishment one can inflict on photographers
is to make them keep their pictures. Good-
bye ! good-bye ! You have all been most
kind to us. We shall be very dull without
you. Good-bye, and I hope you'll enjoy
And as the stern wheeler scuttled noisily
away, Tom saw her standing in the garden
under the hibiscus tree, the evenine lieht
on her white dress and on the slender hand
which she was waving, not at him at all, but
at Louisa Howe. She had kissed him ; but
he had only been her pleasant acquaintance
and she had meant nothing. He had been
cheated ; he had squandered his first kiss.
Then the girl went to her room, and half
THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
an hour later Lady Caroline's maid found
her lying on the floor in a dead faint. And
when she came to, she called wildly for her
mother, her own dear dead mother ; and
cried, and made the maid promise that she
would never, never tell Lady Caroline, what-
ever happened, or whatever she was asked
by any one.
T was durine Miss Turold's absence
that the Palmers moved into their
fine new house at Silcote Dene. Maple's
vans stood outside the door for a week, and
the servants reported that everything in the
mansion was new. They were not quite
correct, for Mrs. Palmer had a little glory-
hole, in which she sat much more than in
her smart drawing-room ; and here was the
chintz-covered sofa her Jack had given her
twenty years ago, and the little book-case
with the shabby volumes of her girlhood,
and all Tom's prizes, and the huge, hideous
VOL. I. 9
THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
armchair in which her husband had long
sat contentedly in the evenings, smiling at
her when his day's work was done. But
when the Palmers appeared in church the
little dowdy glory-hole was unsuspected ; for
they arrived in a brand new carriage with
a pair of young bay horses, driven by a very
magnificent coachman. And Mrs. Palmer
wore a stiff silk dress, which rustled in a
manner most distressing to the wearer ; and
a bonnet, not at all ugly, but decidedly im-
posing, from the best milliner in Bond Street
'' I hope I'm dressed to my position now,"
she thought, "■ and it's comfortable, going to
the best shops ; but I must say if it wasn't
for the fashion I'd never have had a gown
made so for a woman of my figure."
When the Palmers had been in church for
four successive Sundays and Gilbert had
presumably had time to look at them well,
Mr. Turold one morning summoned his son.
Of course Mr. Gilbert visited his father
every day to inquire after his health and
REMORSE. T 3 1
to receive his commands ; this extra inter-
view portended importance.
'* I wish," said Mr. Turold, ''to be in-
formed about these shopkeepers whom you
have located on my property."
*'They are in residence," repHed the son,
wincing; "an. overdressed elderly couple.
I hear rumours of a son. They are rich,
I suppose, and seem liberal. Trevylyan
has been given fifty pounds already for the
steeple, and another fifty pounds for the
Mr. Turold Q^runted.
"We must all turn them to account, of
course. No one has spoken to them, I
suppose ? "
*' I fear the wise old society distinctions
get a little forgotten nowadays. They
brought an introduction — however they got
it — to the Venners. I was surprised to
learn that the old Miss Temples had called,
and Lady Mount Jocelyn "
'* Mammon worship. Or is it considered,
132 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Gilbert, that you have introduced them ?
Yoti don't intend to make their acquaintance,
I hope ? "
'' I shall find it confoundedly difficult to
avoid some acquaintance. Trevylyan has
put the man on the parish council. Pro-
bably he'll be churchwarden next year, and
he's to stand for the Local Board. That
firebrand Kidson is an ally of his, of
** You will not permit my granddaughter
to make acquaintance with the family ? "
interrupted Mr. Turold.
'' It is impossible to be too particular
about Lilith," assented Gilbert.
"Well, well, there are conveniences in
having a rich man in the neighbourhood.
Keep him out of my sight, that's all.
When's your girl coming home ? " he went
on in a different tone; ''and are matters
advanced between her and Vane ? "
The son, relieved of the Palmer topic yet
not taking kindly to the new one, answered
with show of indifference that he beHeved
not, that Lihth seemed a Httle vexed with
her cousin for the moment, and that the
matter could afford to wait, the child being
"That's all rubbish!" said the grandfather.
" In my day the girls of importance were
married off at fifteen. And I don't trust
you about the chit, Gilbert. You'll have
her falling in love next, and twisting you
round her hnger. I will have no disputes
about my heiress's marriage. Vane is your
own choice — I think him a prig, — so for
goodness' sake get the matter settled and
have done with it."
*' Very well, sir ; if Edward is willing."
"■ I say the matter must be approached
delicately. Edward must be sounded. /
cannot make proposals."
'' Lilith can make proposals," said Mr.
Turold, serenely. " It is the proper way
for a young woman in her position. You
134 I^IiE PRINCESS ROYAL.
don't expect a little whlppersnapper like
Vane to dare to make proposals to my
granddaughter ? "
" Really, sir," said Gilbert, "■ you mistake.
Edward Vane will consider himself quite a
match for Lilith. He has a position of his
own, and he is our nearest relation. He
would be very much astonished indeed, if
Lilith's family were to make the proposals."
*' Permit me to differ from you entirely,"
said the old man, angrily. Then his cough
made him wheeze and sputter in a manner
trying to both their tempers. " Now listen
to me," he said, rapping angrily on the table,
when Gilbert, to quiet his nerves under
the hawkings and spittings, had taken up a
pamphlet. "I'll look out myself for a
consort for your daughter. The day has
not yet come in which I'm to have no voice
in the management of the family."
''Sir," said Gilbert, boldly, ''I am aware
of your rights, and I respect them ; but I
can sanction no marriage for my child that
is disagreeable to her or disagreeable to
*'Then," said the old gentleman, ''it only
remains to be seen whether the more power-
ful party is you or I."
" In a question of that kind," said Mr.
Gilbert, with dignity, " I have little doubt
that my daughter would lend her support to
"■ And what is the weight of her support ? "
said Mr. Turold with contehipt.
*' Enough surely to turn the scale," urged
Gilbert came away from this interview,
his brow knitted under a ei*eat weiofht of
thought. It was impossible to help wishing
the old man would die. Their intercourse
had never been affectionate, and at fifty one
tires of expecting promotion. Moreover,
the son's position was essentially ridiculous.
He did all the work, had most of the glory,
and all the opprobrium ; so much so that it
required effort from him to remember the
136 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
old man upstairs, and reference to him and
his authority always made other people
smile. And yet this invisible old man now
and then knocked his son publicly down,
and left him to explain his fall as best he
might, and often lamely enough. This
matter of Lilith was particularly annoying,
as she was the one possession about
which Gilbert had really had carte blanche.
He intended her to marry Edward Vane ;
but he would have liked to defer the wed-
ding for a good three years, and he did not
admire his father's fuss for a great-grandson.
And now a fear shot through him that the
despot might require him next to take a
second spouse himself, though the grass was
hardly green on his beloved Evelyn's grave,
and though he was too proud of his pretty
Lilith to suppose any pleasure in a baby
*' I really wish he may soon " thought
Gilbert, sighing impatiently, as he went into
Goaded by these reflections, the gentle-
man was in no very good humour when a
visitor was ushered in to him; and what a
lecture did Yates afterwards receive for
bringing in that visitor simultaneously with
his card ! In justice to Yates it must be
explained that this was the visitor's fault,
not his. It was Mr. Palmer.
I should be sorry to describe Mr. Turold's
stiffness. Honest Jack Palmer, however, a
man |who never saw ill in any one, did not
notice it. No chair being offered, he took
one himself, though his host remained stand-
ing. He put his hat (his best chimney-pot)
on the floor in front of him, and sat rather
forward with both his hands leaning on his
baggy umbrella, and a smile of perfect good
nature and content on his features.
" I've been wanting to speak to you on a
little matter of business for a week or two,"
said Mr. Palmer, ''but I thought maybe
you'd be coming to call, like our other neigh-
bours, so I put it off. But it's the ladies who
138 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
do the calling; and I wasn't aware till
yesterday that you had lost your good lady,
sir ; and very sorry I was to hear it, I'm
sure. So I saw then there was no eood
waiting longer, and I've just come straight
" Matters of business are best put in writ-
ing," said Mr. Turold ; "and you may as
well explain to Mrs. Palmer that, under my
daughter's circumstances, I choose her
visiting-list to be a very small one."
Mr. Palmer smiled, gracious and un-
'* You have a very pretty view out of your
windows, sir," he said. " My word ! What
a sight you do get of our 'ouse, to be sure.
Just as good a view as we have of yours.
That's what it is."
'' I should say, Mr. Palmer, that at present
you have decidedly the advantage in the
matter of the view," replied Mr. Turold.
*' It's very good of you to say so, I'm
sure," said Mr. Palmer, delio^hted.
Then he looked round the room, and
perused the portraits, his eyes lingering
thoughtfully on one pretty picture of a
*' I take it, sir, that is yourself and your
brothers ? " he said, pointing to it.
" You are right, Mr. Palmer."
Confused by the strong likeness among
the young men, Mr. Palmer yet picked out
Stephen ; and he sighed, debating if he
ought not to say something about him. For
greatly disturbed in his mind had Mr.
Palmer been ever since coming to Silcote
Dene ; it had been one thing to call Tom
his own child while the Turolds were mere
faraway, semi-mythical personages ; it was
another affair now that they were his nearest
neighbours. But Mr. Palmer, simple by
creed and at once simple and romantic by
nature, was a firm believer in the oruidinof
hand of Providence. Providence had, of
course, in the first instance brought him the
boy. Providence had led Tom to fancy
HO THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Silcote Dene and to require its purchase,
notwithstanding his father's dismay when
he learned the name of its owner. Provi-
dence had removed all obstacles to the
purchase, and had caused Mr. Palmer to
build his house close by the home of Tom's
relations. And now Providence would show
the exact moment for revealing the secret of
the boy's birth ; that is, if Providence
intended the thing to be revealed at all,
which was by no means certain. Before
speaking next, Mr. Palmer put up a prayer
for divine guidance.
''Ah, well," he said, ''there is certainly
among 'em a look of Tom."
" I beg your pardon," said Gilbert
" I was thinking sir," said Mr. Palmer,
impressively, still pointing to the picture
with his thumb, "that the portrait I have
of my boy Tom might, but for the change
of get up and that, be a likeness of one of
those young gentlemen there. I'd be glad
if you'd come and see Tom's picture,
Mr. Turold could discover no interest in
these remarks. He begged to be informed
of the business-matter which had brought
his visitor ; and then he despatched it so
quickly that Jack Palmer had no excuse for
lingering longer. Clearly Providence meant
him to hold his tontrue about Tom for to-
day. Nevertheless, as he was going out
he again pointed with his thumb to the
" Those lads are your brothers, sir ? "
''Yes, yes, of course," said Gilbert.
'' And the boy on the left is the youngest.'^"
he went on, indicating Stephen.
** Yes, yes, yes," said Mr. Turold, bowing
him out, and not thinking great exactitude
Good Mr. Palmer went away under the
impression that the man he had been speak-
ing to_ was the obviously oldest brother
of the group. The youths had all been
142 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
very much alike, except the dehcate boyish-
looking Stephen. Mr. Palmer went away,
on the whole well satisfied, and with re-
newed confidence in Providence.
j|EXT came the day of Llllth's return.
Her father was at the Molesworthy
station to meet her, and they drove home
together in LiHth's own pony-carriage. It
was an early season ; already the hedges
were white with hawthorn, and the scent of
lilac came from the cottage gardens.
'' Oh dear ! " sighed Lilith, " it is very nice
to be home again ! "
Mr. Turold saw, to his surprise, that there
were tears in his child's blue eyes.
''You are tired with your journey, my
love ? But you have enjoyed yourself ?
And how is poor Edward ? " he asked
"Oh, he's well, but he limps still. It
144 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
makes him look so stupid," said Lilith. '' It
was very stupid of him to fall in that
manner ! I don't pity him in the least ! ''
That did not sound very lover-like.
Arrived at home, they were no sooner in
the large wainscoted hall, where bloodhounds
were sleeping before the hearth as at any
time in the course of the last four centuries,
than Mr. Turold gathered his daughter in
his arms and kissed her fondly again and
'' My dear little girl ! " he said, ''welcome
home, Lilith. Welcome home."
But Lilith could do nothing but cry as she
returned his embrace, much to her father's
" It's — this cominof home without dear
mother," sobbed Lilith, laying her head on
his shoulder. It seemed to the girl that she
was much older and sadder than when
she had gone away. And she fancied she
could have explained why to her mother : a
papa and a grandpapa were quite impossible
confidants. And how in the world was she
to manaee her existence when Tom Palmer
was at Silcote Dene, and any day she might
run up against him ?
After dinner, seeing she had something on
her mind, Mr. Turold got her into the
library ; and Lilith perched on a table before
him and tried to be merry, failing con-
spicuously. He began to question her.
''You and Edward are good friends,
Lilith ? You have not quarrelled with
Edward, my dear ? Come now, Lilith,
speak out. Edward is coming here to-
morrow, and I wish "
'' I do think," interrupted the girl, '' I
might have a respite from Edward for a
little while ! "
" My dear ? Edward is coming home to-
morrow," resumed Mr. Turold, ''and your
grandfather wishes — in short I intend
But first, my dear child, I had wished to
have a little confidential talk with you."
Lilith sprang off her table and walked up
VOL. I. 10
14^ THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
and down the room with her hands locked.
Her father, longing for his dead wife's assist-
ance, proceeded with some emotion.
" Your grandfather has been talking of
your marriage, Lilith. You cannot believe,
my love, how anxious I am that our choice
should be agreeable to you. Now, let us
try to speak frankly "
" Papa," interrupted Lilith, '' never mind
that now. You were referring to Edward.
I want to tell you something. Did you
know, papa, that Edward Vane is married ? "
"Edward Vane? Married? Nonsense!"
exclaimed Mr. Turold, brought to a full
*' It is not nonsense. He told me him-
self. To some horrid low woman he is
ashamed of, and ought never even to have
spoken to. He has been married ever since
we have known him, papa. Don't you see,
now," cried Lilith, '' how insulting to me it
is, the way you were talking just now ? "
'' But, my dear, I cannot understand. I
think you are making some mistake. Repeat
to me precisely what Edward said."
" I am sure I shall not, papa, for Edward's
sake. But it is quite true. The woman is
dead now," she added dryly.
" Oh, come, that makes a great difference,"
cried Mr. Turold.
" Does it ? " said Lilith.
Her father reflected.
'' I can't imagine what possessed him to tell
you, my dear," he said presently. '' Listen,
Lilith, I will inquire into this matter, but I
feel convinced you have altogether misunder-
stood. It is very unlikely he was married
to the woman. That was a euphemism for
you, my love."
" Papa ! " said Lilith.
Mr. Turold shrugged his shoulders.
" He should not have spoken of it to you,
my dear. Let it be now. It is my affair,
'' It is my affair in this way, papa," said
Lilith, planting herself before him ; '' you
148 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
mustn't suppose I could ever again dream
of marrying Edward. I couldn't, papa, not
to please grandpapa, or you, or any one.
I have been very much shocked, and very
much hurt and offended ; and if I can manage
to be tolerably friendly with Edward on the
outside, that is all I can do. And indeed,
papa " — here her voice began to shake
a little — '' I couldn't marry anybody — any-
body at all, unless I was sure he and I loved
" My dear child, I thought I had explained
that in your position "
*' Yes, papa, I know all that. I remember
what you said. But I didn't know what I
was talking about then. I am older now,
and I understand things better. I couldn't
marry Edward, because " Here she
broke down, and no pinching of her fingers
would keep the tears back. ''And I don't
want to marry any one else either, papa,"
she sobbed, '* and I hope you won't be cruel
to me ! "
REMORSE. 1 49
Mr. Turold was so perplexed that after
Lillth had left him he sat for a long time
motionless and staring at the floor, to the
great concern of Tamburlaine, his favourite
hound, who thought he had gone silly. If
only his wife were here to help him ! How
could a man — a middle-aged, unromantic
papa — prepared to make decent allowance for
a young man's customs, understand the view
a sweet female creature of eighteen, and
reared in a glass house, would take of such
things '^. And what was he to do next ?
Had Edward (such a desirable suitor) done
anything unworthy of Lilith, or had he not '^.
If he had, why, then, of course, he must be
dismissed ; and wasn't that a direct playing
into the hands of the unfeeling old despot
upstairs, who might propose a husband with
a cork leg or a stutter, impediments much
less manageable than this one of Edward's ?
And what was the standard of unworthiness
in these matters ? Mrs. Turold would have
known, not so the widower. And, supposing
150 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
he did arrive at some conclusion on this
point, how was he to ensure Lihth's coming
to it too ? Mr. Turold decided there was
nothing for It but to consult Edward Vane
himself; and he rode over to Molesworthy
early next day to visit his kinsman, the
soundness of whose judgment had always
He was cordially received; for Edward,
though he a little despised Gilbert Turold's
Intellect, liked him and always gratefully
remembered his own first reception at
Turold Royal, and the affectionate family
circle which had beckoned him to a place
in Its midst. Could he but have accepted
that offered place then and there, what a
happy man he would by this time have
been ! But his star had been ever an un-
lucky one — let the vain regrets pass !
" Bless me ! my dear Edward, how ill
you look ! " exclaimed Gilbert. '' What have
you been about ? All the leg, eh ? Or a
touch of tropical fever ? "
'' Oh, it's not illness," said Edward ; '' Fm
well enough in health."
'*Just so. Just so. Lilith has told
'' Lilith ! Ah, dear little Lilith ! " Edward
turned away, sighed, and was silent for a
moment. "' What has she told you,
Gilbert ? "
'* Well — she's a child, you know. She
told me a most extraordinary story : a
farrago of nonsense, I call it. Why did
you mention the matter to a child like
Lilith ? If it was necessary to speak at all,
you should have spoken to me."
Edward did not answer at once ; he was
carefully arranging what he was going
'* I wish I had spoken to you ! Upon
my honour I do ! " exclaimed Edward,
suddenly ; *' but I never foresaw this com-
plication. It never occurred to me that a
young creature like Lilith could look upon
me as a possible suitor."
152 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Mr. Turold was amazed by such stupidity.
'' Oh, my mother has told me since,"
continued Edward ; '' I see now what a bHnd
fool I have been. Let me thank you,
Gilbert, at once for your kind thought of
me : would to Heaven I could have availed
myself of it ! Gilbert, your project was
impossible ; and its very impossibility, which
I knew so well, blinded me to the fact
that other persons might misconstrue my
position. I saw no necessity to explain
—good heavens ! — that my hand was not
Mr. Turold sprang from his seat.
" Good God ! Edward, you don't mean to
tell me that you — good heavens \—you, a
Turold, are actually I don't believe it !
You called it a marriage, not to offend
" No," exclaimed Edward, bringing his
hand down with force upon the table
beside him, '' I had no cause to give her
offence. It was a orenuine, an honourable
marriage, Gilbert, which I could mention
to Lilith without a blush." Mr. Turold felt
snubbed, and kept silence. " Let me explain
my marriage presently," said Edward ; '' I
must speak of Lilith. You understand that
I did not live with my wife ? that the
thing was a failure, and I had not thought
it necessary to acknowledge the mistake I
had made "
" Are there any children ? " interrupted
Mr. Turold ; his mind had suddenly shot
ahead, so that he foresaw himself in his
grave, Lilith in her grave, Edward in his
grave, and a low-born wretch, Edward's son,
son of an unmentionable mother, sitting on
his own throne at Turold Royal. To avert
possibility of that unparalleled catastrophe,
Gilbert felt he must at once himself take
a young wife, and provide heirs other than
this frail girl Lilith.
'' No, no, there are no children," replied
Edward, vexed by these interruptions ; '' do,
for Heaven's sake, hear me out, Gilbert. I
154 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
confessed the truth, the moment I saw mis-
constructions arising. To put it plainly, I
saw that Lilith was building fancies on the
supposition that I was a bachelor."
" Pooh ! You don't want to persuade
me the girl was in love with you," said
Gilbert, speaking weakly however, and
remembering how he had almost bidden
Lilith to fall in love with her cousin.
" Naturally she will not admit it now,"
said Edward ; '' but I will not disclaim what,
at all costs, I must consider an honour. I
suddenly perceived, and unmistakably, that
your sweet daughter was not indifferent to
me. At the same moment I knew that I
— good God ! — that I loved her, as I had
not believed it possible for me to love any
woman. Judge me leniently, Gilbert ; as
soon as I recognized the truth I resolved on
"You should have come away without
" Hardly. My conscience would not allow
me to leave Lillth in the smallest doubt.
And you cannot get off from Luxor at a
moment's notice. We had to remain to-
gether for several days. No ; as a safe-
guard, a precaution, I judged it my duty to
tell her all. I fear she discovered that I
loved her. She may not be aware of it,
Gilbert, but she as plainly acknowledged
that she loved me." Edward, very pale and
genuinely moved, was limping about the room
as he spoke, his hands clenched.
Gilbert's compassion was stirred ; the more
so, that Edward had a talent for over-per-
suadinor the mind of his less astute kinsman
in whatever respect he would. Mr. Turold
considered whether Lilith had said anything
to confirm this view taken by Edward of her
sentiments. Yes : she had said she would
not marry '' any one else." In that phrase
she had let the cat out of the bag. She was
offended, and justly, with her cousin ; but,
she loved him. It was only out of pride
that she was concealine her affection. Poor
156 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
little love-crossed maiden ! She zvould not
7na7^ry miy 07te else !
"You know the history of my accident,"
continued Edward ; "I was chained to Luxor
by a broken leg. And then I learned the
full irony of my fate. The very next post
brought me news : my unhappy wife was
dead. Gilbert, I ant free, now ; but I fear I
have lost my every chance with Lilith." He
pressed his hand to his brow and turned
'' The woman is dead," repeated Mr.
Turold, meditatively, ''and there are no
children ; you are quite sure there are no
children ? I think, Edward, in a little while
— providing, of course, there is no scandal,
nothing notorious — you may come forward,
after all." He hesitated. '' Of course your
offence was shocking," he said ; '' I could not
have believed you capable of so forgetting
the duty you owed society and your family ;
but still, under the circumstances, if Lilith's
affections are engaged And, in fact.
there are not many men we could allow
her to marry," he ended, abruptly.
All this was precisely what Edw^ard Vane
had wished him to say. The young man
was well satisfied with his morning's w^ork ;
and after this he absented himself for a time
from Lilith's presence, leaving it to Gilbert
to pave the way for his reappearance. He
returned to Cambridge, and became again,
for a time, the recluse, the student, the exotic
And while at Cambridge, he fell in with
Grace Kidson, who had come up for a dinner
at her college. Edward had already noticed
Miss Kidson's beauty when he had con-
ducted the viva voce examination, at w^hich
she had taken such honours ; since then his
curiosity had been piqued. He now culti-
vated her acquaintance. After a time she
seemed to him one of the most curious
young women he had yet come across, and
she thought him the cleverest man of her
acquaintance. By his advice, Grace prose-.
158 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
secuted her scientific studies, remaining for
a while in the University town, and working
at astronomy and chemistry with a tutor.
'' I dare say we shall sometimes meet at
Moles worthy," said Edward, carelessly. '' If
you will allow me, I will take an occasional
look at your work. Nature intended me for
a professor, not for a country gentleman. At
least let me retain one pupil."
There was not the faintest hint of gallantry
in his tone. Mr. Vane talked to Grace as
if she were sixty. This pleased her, for she
was an ardent preacher of the superiority of
spinsters, and It never occurred to her that
had she really been elderly and plain, Mr.
Edward Vane would probably never have
talked to her at all.
I dare say the duchess who kissed the
butcher thought herself a clever-spoken
politician ; neither she nor Grace had taken
sufficiently to heart Mazzini's lesson, that
" in the Mixing-up of things lies the great
fralR. PALMER had built his house on
i^^ the plot of ground which his son had
chosen, and it was no secret that he meant
everything for his boy a great deal more
than for himself. Now the house was built
and ready and delightful ; but alas ! Tom
seemed to have lost all interest in it and
would not settle down.
True he came for an afternoon the
moment he returned from his yachting ;
looked at everything and said '' very nice "
to everything ; but his manner was absent
and his voice was sad, and the good old
folk were surprised and disappointed.
" These are your own rooms, Tom," said
Mrs. Palmer, " the ones you chose, you
l6o THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
know — with the view you're fond of from the
" Yes," said Tom, glancing through the
casement for an instant only.
It was the same season as when he had
first seen that view and it was the same hour
of the day ; but this was a stormy evening,
and heavy clouds hung over the Court, its.
frowning battlements standing up black
against the angry red of the horizon. The
nightingales were not singing ; the little
river was invisible, and no white figure stood
in the terraced garden. Tom wished him-
self back in Egypt where black clouds are
not, nor monotonous grass lands and heavy
woods drenched in rain ; he had a vision
of golden sand, and two delicate, transparent,
gold-green palm trees with bending stems
against a shell-pink sunset sky ; and he felt
— so keen was his memory — a girl's light
hand touching his to point out the crested
hoopoe flitting at his feet. Mentally he
shook the lis^ht touch off; and then the
vision faded and he saw his mother waiting
patiently beside him till he should admire
" It's very nice, all of it," said Tom, doing
his best, but his words sounded perfunctory
and dull even to himself.
** There's something gone wrong with him,
Polly," commented Mr. Palmer.
*' If it's sunstroke, Jack," said Mrs. Palmer,
anxiously, *' they do say it takes six years to
clear it out of the system."
'' I doubt if it's sunstroke," said her
Tom came to Silcote Dene again and
again of course, and stayed a night now and
then ; but settle down he would not, and he
spoke little and mooned about disconsolately,
taking no interest in anything. However,
he had begun to work feverishly hard in his
father's business, and he did occasionally
make a few remarks about that.
'* I've taken up a notion," he said one
evening after dinner, when for ten minutes
VOL. I. II
1 62 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
he had cracked walnuts in sullen silence,
Mr. Palmer studying his looks with affec-
tionate solicitude and half inclined to cate-
chize him as to what was the matter ;
** I've taken up a notion, dad, that Jim Howe
is getting too important.'*
" I have every confidence in Jim," said
Mr. Palmer, " and our success is mainly
owing to him. It*s human nature when
you've got everything your own way to be
a little "
*' Has he got everything his own way ? "
*' Ye — es," said Mr. Palmer, half apologeti-
Tom drew a little nearer, put his elbows
on the table and looked at his father
attentively. Mr. Palmer was glad to see
some animation about him at last.
*' Do you mean that you are leaving things
more to Jim than you used ? "
'' I have every confidence in Jim," repeated
Mr. Palmer ; " he has the business faculties
that I haven't. He's the practical man ; I'm
only the theoretical. The fact is, Tom, I'm
thinking of changes. If the public ain't tired
of Prepared Paraffin, I am. It's not perfect.
Kidson's oil with all its defects gives more
light. It's equal to gas, and mine just isn't ;
and I'm dissatisfied."
'' You've been experimenting again ? " said
Tom, with a smile, for Mr. Palmer was
always ready to joke about his own experi-
ments. However, he made no jokes to-night.
" Yes. I've got an idea, impracticable as
yet, which I mean to make something of. I
wish you were more of a chemist, Tom. It
would be a deal more use than your tunes on
'* I met a man the other day," said Tom,
who never talked music with his father, *' a
fellow called Vane ; he's a first-rate chemist,
a retired professor. His pet iniquity, he
"Why?" asked Mr. Palmer, absently,
conning a paper with hieroglyphics scrawled
over it, which he had drawn from his pocket.
1 64 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
" Oh, he's a dilettante — one of your swells
on whom brains are thrown away, because
they think it infra dig. to use them. I hate
that style of chap. I couldn't talk patiently
to him myself; but Kidson and Howe tried
to pick his brains. I could see that."
" Kidson ?" asked Mr. Palmer, waking up
and putting the hieroglyphics away. "Ah,
if I get my flame up to KIdson's Combined
Kerosine, with the conveniences of Prepared
Paraffin, it'll take all the wind out of his
sails. Joe and I are too old chums to ruin
each other. We settled long ago that sooner
than do that, either of us, we'd run in double
harness — amalgamate. You mustn't mind,
Tom, if it comes to that some day."
-Why should I mind ?" said Tom. '^ We
are rich enough." He rose and stretched
himself, then moved about the room, touching
one thing after another listlessly.
Mr. Palmer felt his anxiety reviving.
" It wouldn't do to chuck this oil business,
I suppose ? " said the son, presently.
REMORSE, 1 6=;
"Tom, what's gone wrong with you, my
lad ? You ain't grown dissatisfied with your
station, Tom?" questioned Mr. Palmer,
Tom laughed. " Only for accidental
" Don't speak to me In parables, boy."
*' I met a person the other day," said Tom,
holding one of the cut glasses up to the
light and examining It critically, '* belonging,
I suppose, to what are called the upper
classes, who told me, not at all in parables,
' You are not one of us.' It set my back
up for a moment," continued Tom; "but,
thinking It over, I saw pretty clearly that
the son of an advertising oilman Is not ' one
of them.' She spoke naked truth."
" She f " echoed Mr. Palmer, aghast.
Tom laughed again. "Well, yes, she.
I didn't mean to let out the pronoun,
" My dear, dear boy ! Tell me ! " said
1 66 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
" There is extremely little to tell. I was
taught, as Mr. Vane gracefully put it, that
cat must after kind. She wasn't my kind,
*' Who was it, Tom ? "
'' No ; I can't tell you that, after repeating
her words. Don't worry yourself, father.
They don't rankle — much. They were true,
and she only said them because, like an
idiot, I had pressed her to."
Mr. Palmer shivered. A grand lady. This
was the thing that of all others he had
dreaded for the son of his adoption.
" My dear, dear boy ! But, Tom, it's non-
sense — it's absurd ! You a7X a gentleman ;
by education, Tom. You can talk Latin
with the best of 'em. And there is no need
for you to work for your living. You shall
get into the Commons, my boy ; and, maybe,
with your looks, and your fortune, and your
cleverness, for you are clever, Tom — look
at all the shelves of prizes you brought
home — maybe, I say, they'll make you a
lord some day, like many another who's got
his fortune out of beer, or cotton, or such-
"And why not oil?" said Tom. ''No,
father, the Ethiopian can't change his skin ;
at least, not in the eyes of that lady. I
shan't try. To be your son is my best title
to respect ; and, if I can't get her on that
ground, I must just do without her."
" Don't you want to be anything but my
son, Tom ? " asked Mr. Palmer, more and
more troubled. " And you've given up all
hopes of her, then ? "
Tom was silent for a minute.
" I don't know that I've the smallest reason
for hope," he said slowly ; " but, I suppose
— yes, — I do relapse into it now and then.
Never mind about it, dad," he went on,
smiling as he saw the affectionate eyes
perusing his dejection, " I shall be all right.
Only I can't sit down quietly at home just
now — in this neighbourhood."
Poor Mr. Palmer's face fell ; but he did
1 68 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
not remind his son that the house had
been built in this neighbourhood entirely
to gratify him. He took up quite a wrong
impression : that the fair one lived in London,
and that the boy was anxious to haunt her
steps. And could this unknown lady possibly
be as pretty as Grace Kidson on whom Mr.
Palmer's paternal hopes had all been set ?
After this Tom was little at home, but
increasingly assiduous in his father s business,
and something of a torment to Mr. Howe,
the autocrat manager.
Meantime Miss Turold'grew familiar with
the appearance in church of Mr. and Mrs.
Palmer. Why was the son never in their
company ? Without asking direct questions
of any one, Lilith learned that on one pretext
or another a good many people had called
at Silcote Dene. The old Misses Temple
apologized for having done so, and made
some excuse about a lapdog. Lady Mount
Jocelyn found her reason in the Radical views
of her deceased husband. Other people
tried to ignore their condescension when
they met the Turolds ; nevertheless, LiHth
heard of their conduct, and began to think she
was the one only person in the county who
didn't know Mrs. Palmer. Some day she
would certainly find herself in the same room
with Mrs. Palmer ; or, worse still, with Tom.
What would his humour be ? She could
not guess. Anything seemed to her pos-
sible for a man in his position. He
might be still stupid and admiring, or he
might be offended and haughty. He
might be awed by her state ; shy and
awkward ; hardly, blustering and obtrusive.
The son of a paraffin man might be the
sort of person to boast of a love adventure.
With sickening terror Lilith reflected that
her father might learn she had kissed the
man ; or Tom might keep that secret and
remind her privately that he was keeping
it. A guilty mystery shared with this
terrible man and concealed from her equals,
seemed absolutely maddening to the timid
170 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
and fanciful girl. She began to wish herself
dead ; to hope that the Mermaid had gone
to the bottom in the Bay of Biscay. The
agony of apprehension was long drawn out,
for week after week passed and Mr. Thomas
Palmer never showed ; nor did Mr. Trevylyan,
nor Lady Mount Jocelyn appear to have
even heard of him.
But there came at last a hot summer
Sunday when Lilith, contrary to custom,
went to the evening service in the parish
church. Visitors were staying at Turold
Royal — a pompous old lord, his elderly
daughter, and a very inquisitive, sharp
y^oung M.P., who fixed admiring glances on
the Princess, and was disliked by her as
well as by her father, both suspecting in
him the grandfather's matrimonial candidate.
Being all bored with each other, they hailed
the notion of church, started too soon,
walked too fast, and arrived too early. The
young M.P. remarked on an empty pew with
aggressively new cushions, new hassocks,
REMORSE. I 7 1
new prayer-books, and new scarlet hymn-
" It's the new people's pew," said Gilbert
Turold ; and the young man giggled. Lilith
felt angry ; still she breathed a sigh of relief:
for an hour and a half she was relieved from
all duties as hostess. Presently, without
looking round, she became conscious that
the new people had come into their pew.
The evening service at Turold Church
was a little more pretentious than that of
the morning. Flustered by the unusual
crowd from the Court, the little choir boys
sang their best. It was the 28th evening,
and they got through the long psalm with
the refrain not unsuccessfully ; then came
the 137th Psalm, and the chant, after a chord
or two, plunged into the minor. The boys
were afraid of it, and the very few basses
and tenors stopped singing altogether. Only
the little chap \vho took the soprano solos
and who was bursting with conceit, sang out
lustily; the organist himself tried to start
172 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
the bass, and a voice in the congregation
took up the tenor. For the first few verses
these three sang a trio : '' By the waters of
Babylon we sat down and wept : when we
remembered thee, O Zion. As for our
harps we hanged them up : upon the trees
that are therein. For they that led us away
captive required of us a song : sing us one
of the songs of Zion."
Here the choir plucked up courage, and
the three voices were accompanied. Still
they predominated ; the little boy cried with
ofusto, *' Down with it, down with it ! " and
the tenor rang out, rich and pathetic, " O
daughter of Zion, wasted with misery "
— Lilith Turold's heart was beating to
suffocation, for she knew that voice. As for
Tom Palmer, his eyes were pretty steadily
fixed on Miss Turold's white bonnet.; he
had been saying to himself hard things of
her, and half believing them for many weeks
now. But he forgot all about them as he
saw her ribbons and that bit of her cheek.
and her slim fingers desperately clutching her
prayer-book. He reconsidered his decision
against living at home ; to come to church
every Sunday, and to look at the back of
Lilith Turold's bonnet seemed to him the
only thing worth living for.
The sermon to-night was to Miss Turold
terribly tedious; still she dreaded its end, for
that meant exit, and perhaps a face-to-face
encounter with the enemy. When the bene-
diction had been pronounced, and the little
choir boys were hustling each other into the
vestry, Lilith remained on her knees to let
the Palmers get out first. But the old lord
was impatient, and Mr. Turold considered
it his prerogative to march down the aisle
before any one else. He had always done
so, till simple Mr. Palmer came and occasion-
ally moved first by accident. The Turold
party did not to-night overtake the oil
merchant and his family within the edifice.
The old couple were stepping down
through the churchyard, with Tom following
174 I^HE PRINCESS ROYAL.
and thinking of Lilith. It seemed to him
improper to stalk along thus in front of her,
and he drew aside. Mr. Palmer, always
respectful and humble, thought it a hint from
his son to clear the way for the great folk.
The path was narrow, and just here the
wooden headstones edged it closely. Mr.
Palmer hastily pulled his wife out of the
way, and it ended in Tom, his father, and his
mother, all standing singly on the grass, side
by side, while the party from the Court
swept by. Tom was waiting for Lilith's
recognition, and a little vexed with his
parents, who were awkward, though not
But this absurd stoppage of the old couple
confused Miss Turold hopelessly. What did
it mean, unless that Tom had told, and that
they were waiting to clasp her to their
hearts ? Mr. Turold too was annoyed.
'' Come on, my love," he said impatiently ;
"we are blocking people's way." People!
what a word ! And the young M.P.,
and the old lord, and the elderly young
lady his daughter, were laughing — what at,
Lilith did not know. The girl was a coward :
the dread of consequences, the memory of
that unhappy kiss, her father's hurry, her
friends' mirth, Mr. Palmer's stupidity, and
the sparkle of excitement in her lover's eye,
were too much for her. She had prepared
a bow ; but now she turned very pale, and
passed on, looking straight before her, her
hands clenched and her teeth set, and her
head not bending in the very least.
"■ Good heavens ! " ejaculated Tom, sound-
lessly ; and the blood rushed over his face
as if he had received a blow.
FTER this Lllith's remorse became
agony. She had no sooner got past
the Palmers than she recognized what a
thing she had done ; and sought eagerly for
place of repentance, but, like Esau, found it
She cast one despairing glance after her
lover ; he was getting into the carriage
and she could not catch his attention.
She tried to tell her father ; but he was
describing to the old lord the intruders at
Silcote Dene, and she could command no
voice to interrupt. She pursued him before
supper to the library, still with confession in
her mind ; but he was talking heraldry to
the young senator, and only interrupted
himself to say to her, with his frequent
falHbiHty on musical matters —
" I wish some one would choke that young
Otway. Did you hear him in the psalms,
Lilith, bawling away just behind my ear ? "
" Not Mr. Otway, papa," murmured Lilith,
feeling that this preamble had rendered her
task impossible. How could she explain an
acquaintance with Tom and get him asked
to luncheon, when her father mixed him up
with Otway, the assistant schoolmaster, and
she herself was conscious of having kissed
him ? She was baulked, and confessed
nothing. " But I shall not rest," she assured
herself vehemently, '* till I have seen him and
apologized — yes, apologized most humbly."
Neitheron the morrow nor on any succeed-
ing day did she see him. Sunday by Sunday,
morning and evening, she went to church ;
but he was not there.
Lilith had never looked well since her
return home, and now she began to be almost
ill. She was pale, her eyes were large, her
VOL. I. 12
178 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
hands were thin. She caught cold, she had
the toothache, the headache, the fingerache ;
all symptoms perhaps of the heartache. Her
grandfather grew impatient, her father
anxious, and the servants talked nonsense
about a decline. Then the doctor said she
wanted a change, and Mr. Turold suggested
Switzerland; but Lilith would none of it,
and he contented himself collecting invita-
tions for Scotland. Even these seemed to
promise the pale child no pleasure ; she
had taken a dislike to company, saying for
instance that it was too far to go to Mrs.
Victor Barnard's ball at Harleton.
**Too far, my dear?" said Mr. Turold.
" What are the horses for ? "
" Oh, papa, don't make me go," said Lilith,
Nevertheless next week, when the old
Misses Temple gave a little dance and Mr.
Turold was for declining, because the Misses
Temple did not give nice dances and he had
a notion his princess might meet the Palmers
REMORSE. 1 79
or people of that stamp from the Molesworthy
Villas, the whimsical Lilith insisted upon
attending ; and her indulgent father gave in,
though he was sorely puzzled by her caprices.
Lilith went to the dance under the winof
of Mrs. Trevylyan ; and that lady noted the
eagerness with which her charge surveyed
everybody in the rooms, and her agitation
when (just as her father had feared) Mr. and
Mrs. Palmer were presently announced.
Lilith sat up straight, a pink spot in the
middle of each cheek and her eyes shining.
But no, Tom was not there ; only the old
couple arm-in-arm, in very good clothes, and
with smiling faces going round the room,
shaking hands with every single person they
knew. When they reached Princess Lilith
they omitted her, of course, humbly but
pointedly ; and Lilith hid behind her fan and
was ready to cry with vexation.
" It is really annoying," whispered Mrs.
Trevylyan to Miss Temple, **to see Lilith
so afraid of those dear good people. It
l8o THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
makes quite an awkwardness in the parish,
and Tm afraid to ask Mrs. Palmer to my
" Dear, dear ! " sighed Miss Temple ; *' a
sweet girl like that and brought up to be so
haughty ! "
Lilith moped in a corner, and would not
dance ; she thought she had never been at
such a horrible party, and asked herself angrily
why in the world she had come. Then she
spied Edward, to whom she had not spoken
since that unlucky expedition to Egypt.
Edward always knew the right thing to do,
and he came up and talked to her just as
usual, not appearing to notice her momentary
embarrassment. She felt quite grateful for
his savoir fairCy and soon she was dancing with
him and almost on the old friendly footing.
** You may come and see us sometimes,
Edward," she said with studied carelessness,
" as 2. friend, you know."
'' To be sure, I will," returned Edward,
REMORSE. 1 6 1
Grace Kidson was at this party also, and
Lilith, who had seen her sometimes with
Mrs. Palmer, insisted on an introduction.
Edward alone was bold enough to make the
two girls acquainted. It amused him to see
them together, they were so extremely
unlike ; Lilith, who (in theory at least)
belonged to the days of chivalry ; Grace,
who (likewise in theory) was a " Woman of
the Future." They had a long conversation,
in the course of which Grace aired her views,
and was enchanted. by her new pupil's docility,
and distressed by her ignorance and want of
spirit. Lilith received a succession of little
shocks, which would probably have made
her distinctly unfriendly, had not the
"Woman of the Future" been so wonder-
fully beautiful ; and, important fact, a sort of
stepping-stone to Tom Palmer s acquaintance.
'* I will consult this lady," said Lilith to
herself; ''she will tell me what I ought to
do, and I will give her a message for him."
Grace saw the troubled eyes, and imagined
1 82 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
anything rather than a love affair to be at
the bottom of Lillth's melancholy.
" In your influential position, dear Miss
Turold," — this was a part of Grace's conversa-
tion with her new acquaintance — ''you must
be most thankful that women are now
allowed to leave the four walls of their
home. No, surely you do not stay within the
four walls } That is not done nowadays.
You have only to spread your wings and
you will find you can fly. Do not lose the
few precious years of your independence.
* Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still aflying.'
You may have to marry. After that it
is unfortunate that a woman cannot do very
much. The mind does not grow after
" I shall never marry," said Lilith, only
half attending, and thinking of her message
'' Nor I ! " said Grace, with enthusiasm ;
" even the decadent French novelists are
beginning to admit that women are given
their health, their intellect, their beauty,
for something higher than to be a nurse to
some man's little children. Let a woman
use her talents ; even the admiration her
beauty excites has its use ; but then it must
be the admiration of the many who are
incited by it to something noble ; not the
admiration of some mere individual, which
produces selfishness, and vanity, and animal
Lilith sighed ; it did not seem possible
that a virgin with such lofty views could
help her to speech with her lover.
She went thoughtfully home and reflected
all night. In the morning she gave her
father a glowing account of Grace — Grace,
the most beautiful person she had ever seen,
member of a family known to Lady Caroline ;
introduced by Edward, admired by Edward.
Mr. Turold surveyed his daughter over
the top of the newspaper, and told himself
she was jealous — an excellent symptom.
184 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
" Papa," ended Lilith, '' Miss Kidson is
staying at Silcote Dene, and I want to go
and see her ! "
" My dear love," said Mr. Turold, " how
can you see any one at Silcote Dene ? "
" Papa, I want to go to Silcote Dene. I
met Mrs. Palmer one day at the vicarage ;
she got up to leave the moment I came in,
and Mrs. Trevylyan quite bustled her out.
I felt so horrid, papa. And I want to be
friends with Miss Kidson."
Her father remained quite unmoved,
rallied her a little, and changed the con-
Next Lilith tried a letter to Grace, the
'* Dear Miss Kidson,
" I am so sorry not to have seen you again,
but my time has been much occupied this week, and,
indeed, will be so till we leave for Scotland. I must
hope for a more favourable opportunity later on ; you
are often, I believe, in our neighbourhood. I have
thought much of our talk and the new ideas you gave
me. I wonder if you could manage some time to hint to
Mr. Thomas Palmer for me "
Lllith Stopped. She could invent no
ending for that sentence ; and the whole
letter was untrue. No way of prosecuting
the acquaintance was likely to show itself
later on; and Grace would smile at Miss
Turold's overwhelming occupations. Nor
was Lilith so much enamoured of Grace's
views as she tried to be ; she did not agree
about the degradation of the imaginary wife
who nursed little children. Babies — new
people — would seem to Lilith more interest-
ing and more important than Egyptian
hieroglyphics, or votes at an election. She
would not write to Grace. No ; she would
write an apology to Tom himself !
Again and again Miss Turold took the
pen in her hand and tried to begin. But
this also proved impossible. How could she
even address him ? A man she had kissed !
And what could she say which would not
heap insult on injury '^. He would tear the
letter up ; stamp on it. He thought her
a bad girl. He thought dreadful things of
1 86 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
her. He thought she should not have
kissed him. He thought she went about
kissing people who were just pleasant
acquaintances. He thought she went about
kissing people and then cutting them. How
could she apologize and explain — explain, in
a letter ?
N the 26th of August, the Molesworthy
Horticultural Society held its final
Flower Show. This time the exhibition was
in the park of Turold Royal, and a very
brilliant affair. Two great tents were erected
within sight of the Court, and the wide
stretch of pleasant country where a sweet
smell from distant cornfields subdued the
luscious odours of grapes and melons and
roses from the best hothouses in the
vicinity. This was the most important
function at which Llllth had yet officiated
as hostess ; she sat in state at the far end of
the biggest tent with a regular little Court
around her. She was richly dressed in pale,
silver-embroidered cloth, and she had a
1 88 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
spreading hat to match, and at her throat
a spray of most dehcate tea roses, presented
by the winner of the first prize. Mr. Turold
was proud of his daughter, and noted with
satisfaction that every one, from bashful
schoolboy to magnificent dowager, treated
the Princess Royal with the greatest dis-
tinction. He himself did not sit upon a
throne. Affability was his role ; he roamed
about, greeting every one he knew, saying
pretty things, and, if pleased with the person
he addressed, bringing him to Lilith for
presentation. The afternoon's success
delighted him ; he had already asked a
dozen people to dinner, had escorted eight
to pay homage to the old despot in his retire-
ment, had sent a few youths to the billiard-
room, and had organized three parties to go
round the Court with the housekeeper.
The day wore on, and at last Mr. Turold
began to get a little hot, and a little be-
wildered, and a little bored. He gave him-
self a short holiday, whispering to Mr.
Trevylyan over an ice, "Who is this ?'' and
*' Where is that ? " and '' Is this other never
going away ? "
*' And upon my word, Trevylyan, who is
that exquisite creature near the tea-stall,
handing a cup to an old lady in black ?
She's as pretty as Lilith ! "
''Where?" Mr. Trevylyan craned his
head. *' As pretty as Lilith.^ Surely not.
Oh, the lady in black is Lady Milnes, of
whom you were just speaking, and those are
her two younger daughters. Handsome
girls, I admit."
"Lady Milnes! Ah! I thought I knew
her face. She wears well ; she must be
near sixty. The plainer of the daughters is
the one lately married, I suppose ? Mrs.
— Mrs. — I forget the name. Lilith has met
the young ladies, I believe. Ah ! she has
sent Edward Vane for the beauty. Very
right — very right."
He left the vicar and went to speak to
Lady Milnes, an old friend whom he had
I go THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
not met for years. Mr. Trevylyan moved
into the chair Mr. Tiirold had quitted, and
only then perceived that close beside Lady
Milnes were seated Mrs. Palmer and her
niece Louisa Howe ; and that Edward Vane
was leading to the Princess Royal, not the
pretty Miss Milnes, but the very far prettier
Grace Kidson. And — this was really alarm-
ing — Mr. Turold, with the air of infallibility
peculiar to his race, was bearing down
through the crowd, not on Lady Milnes at
all, but on the unknown and unregarded
** Goodness me ! " exclaimed the unhappy
vicar, '' he will say it is all my fault ! " And
he took up his hat and left his ice, and fled
away home and locked himself up in his
study ; unable to face the consequences of
what he had done.
Meanwhile, conceive Lilith's astonishment
and that of every other person, when Mr.
Turold was seen escorting, with vast courtesy
and great solemnity, to the presence of the
REMORSE. 1 9 T
princess, good Mrs. Palmer, of " Prepared
Paraffin" reputation, who was hanging on
his arm and looking frightened though
pleased, and closely follow^ed by Louisa
Howe. Several persons who knew Mrs.
Palmer but had all the afternoon been trying
to avoid her, took courage now and bowed
to the worthy woman, salutes which she
returned very awkwardly, being flustered by
so much sudden attention.
" Lilith, my love, here are some old
friends," said Gilbert Turold. Then he turned
to Louisa, "" You have met my little girl, I
think .? " Then back to Mrs. Palmer, '' I am
ashamed to say I cannot recollect your
** Oh, it's my niece," said Mrs. Palmer.
" Mrs. 'Owe."
" Curious thing," thought Mr. Turold,
" Lady Milnes has never lost that provincial
accent she acquired in her childhood."
Lilith, very pale, shook hands with
192 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
" Oh yes, I know Mrs. Howe," she said,
embarrassed. ** How nice it was at Luxor !
Do you remember those silly donkeys 1 "
(*' Now or never," thought Lilith. *' I will
ask for him — for Tom.") And she shook
hands with Mrs. Palmer, not knowing if she
stood on her head or her heels.
** At Luxor was it you met ? " said Mr.
Turold. ** Well, I don't know how you
liked the climate, Mrs. Howe, but I must
say my dear child has not looked the better
for it." He turned to the elder lady, '' We
are charmed to have you for neighbours ;
quite charmed. I mustn't praise our own
county, but I really think you could not
have pitched your tent in a pleasanter one.
Such absolutely rural scenery, yet within
easy reach of town."
'' It's very convenient for business people,"
said Mrs. Palmer ; and for a moment he was
" Ah, to be sure ! I heard that your
" Tom 'asn't been here much. He 'asn't
taken to It so much as we'd 'oped."
*' All in good time ; all in good time," said
Mr. Turold, wondering what was the matter
with Lilith. " Will you allow me to bring
my daughter to call ? You have been wish-
ing that, I know, my love."
*'I do wish it very much, papa," said Lilith.
Everybody was watching this little scene
with astonished eyes.
** I understand it perfectly," said the deaf
Miss Temple, in what she believed a whisper;
" some one whose opinion Mr. Turold
values has introduced them formally, and he
is doubly cordial now because he feels he
has been too stiff. Trust dear Mr. Turold's
good heart in the long run."
Mr. Turold heard none of this. Lilith
and Mrs. Palmer had sharper ears, and both
"We shall be at 'ome to-morrow," said
Mrs. Palmer, ''and very pleased to see you,
I am sure."
VOL. I. 13
194 '^HE PRINCESS ROYAL,
'' Now, Lilith, mind you let nothing inter-
fere with that, my love," said Mr. Turold ;
*' your dear mother's oldest friend."
'' Papa ! " exclaimed Lilith, then began to
talk very fast to Louisa. '' Oh yes ! we
shall be so pleased to visit you to-morrow.
And you must come and see the curiosities
I brought home. Do you remember the
* ver good antique Horus-god ' you helped
me to bargain for ? "
'' I will first take Lady Milnes round the
exhibits," said Mr. Turold, '' and then I hope
she and Mrs. Howe will come into the
house with us and rest a little."
Confusion was now manifest to every one.
Mrs. Palmer looked to Lilith for explanation,
and Lilith was scarlet to the roots of her hair.
'' Edward, do help us ! " murmured the
girl ; and Edward shook himself and came
forward a little. With his slightly male-
volent disposition, he was good at a disagree-
'' I think," he said dryly, "■ there is some
little mistake ; you are not speaking to Lady
Mllnes, sir, but to Mrs. Palmer."
To Mrs. Palmer ! Of course. ]\Ir. Turold
did know her face, for he had seen her in
church, and she was about the age, height,
and size of his wife's old friend. The mis-
take was not altogether unnatural. But the
thins: was how w^ould Gilbert Turold oret
out of it ? The inexperienced Lilith closed
her eyes in alarm.
Mr. Turold began to speak, after a just
perceptible pause :
''To be sure! To be sure! How
extremely stupid of me ! It is half the
fault, though, of our mutual friend Trevylyan.
I've been tellino^ him he must begin
spectacles. I really hope you will pardon
me, Mrs. Palmer. A most ridiculous blunder!
Shall we go on to the exhibits '^. You will
see your gardener looking terribly vain ol
his peaches. Now, can you tell me where
you got the young trees from ? My
gardener persuades me "
196 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Lilith heard no more, but as long as she
could she watched her father still leading
Mrs. Palmer about, pointing out all the
prizes, presenting her with his own highly-
commended grapes, and talking away just
as smilingly as he had talked to the
imaginary Lady Milnes. Never was simple
woman so much flattered as good Polly
Nevertheless, Mr. Turold did not ask
her, nor Mrs. Howe, nor Miss Kidson Into
the house. He reappeared"" in process of
time beside Lilith, and took her home ; but
uttered not a word about his blunder, nor
did the girl, nor did Edward Vane, the
Next day, about three o'clock, Lilith's
pony-carriage appeared at the door, and
she came down very nicely dressed though
less royally than yesterday.
** Are you ready, papa ? " she asked.
" Going for a drive ? " said Mr. Turold,
and got in, taking the reins himself. " Why
do you wear white, Lilith, when you are
so provokingly pale ? "
'' I put on white, papa," said Lihth,
" because some one whom we shall perhaps
see, likes it."
*'Hm; Edward," said Mr. Turold to
himself ; " got an appointment with him, has
she ? Good child to tell me."
They were bowling along swiftly through
the park, Robin flying over the smooth
road ; and Mr. Turold looked with some
displeasure at the trampled grass and an
occasional sandwich-paper, relic of yesterday.
*' I was pleased with you at the show,
Lilith," he said; " you looked pretty and took
your position well. Dear ! dear ! it seems
only the other day that your dear mother
did the honours of the first flower show.
Very little older than you, Lilith, she was
then. I wonder how many times my little
girl will invite the county to her flower show .^
Some day an old lady with white hair and
two dozen grandchildren will look back to
198 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
the young Lillth's first attempt and smile
to think how formidable it seemed. Well,
there's no good thinking ahead at my
time of life — it only makes one melancholy.
Here we are at the lodge. Which way,
my dear ? "
" To the left, papa." He turned the
" And where am I taking you ? "
** You know, I think."
" Not I, indeed, my dear ! "
'* To pay that visit, papa."
" A visit ? I have forgotten. And I
haven't on my visiting hat."
Lilith set her teeth : a fight was coming.
'' Papa, we must go and see Mrs. Palmer ;
we said we would."
" Nonsense, Lilith ! " Mr. Turold stopped
the pony, and sent the servant home on
some excuse ; then said slowly : " I don't
wonder you are annoyed, my child. I
made a fool of myself I confess it. But
we mustn't let bad grow worse. I made
a point of being civil to that good
woman yesterday, but now we must drop
'' Papa, that's exactly what I did ! I
know that's a bad way. I knew her — her
niece, papa, and her — oh dear ! her friends,
papa, and — well, yes, all of them, quite well
at Luxor. I did what you call ' making a
point of being civil.' And now I have
dropped them, and cut them, and you
can't think how inea7t I feel. Please, please,
papa, not because you were rude — you
weren't, that was only a mistake — but
because / have been most dreadfully rude,
do, do let me go and call to-day, if it is only
to leave cards. You can't think how un-
happy I am about it ! "
" You are a very silly child to worry your-
self. They will perfectly understand," said
Gilbert Turold, wondering what she was
'' Oh no ! Nobody could. They will only
feel mortified and despise us. It was bad
200 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
enough for me before, but you made it far
worse yesterday," cried Lilith, tilting at the
weak point in his armour. '' How could I
know it was a mistake when you brought
Mrs. Howe up and told me to renew my
acquaintance with her ? Of course I said I
was glad. I was glad. Papa, if she was
niece to our very dustman, I should still wish
to go and see her."
** Mr. Palmer is certainly not our dust-
man, but we burn his oil, which is much
the same thing. He has not even retired
from his business."
" But, papa, no ! " cried Lilith ; " we don't
burn his oil. You ordered it all out of the
house when you were angry, and we have
poked in the dark ever since ! "
They both laughed, and being in a solitary
lane, Lilith pouted her pretty lips and kissed
'* Well, well, my pet," said Mr. Turold,
'' I suppose you must have your way this
time, because I have led you into a scrape.
REMORSE. 20 1
But remember it's a strictly formal visit, and
I won't have it repeated."
Lilith seized the whip and lashed Robin
into a gallop. Her eyes sparkled, and Mr.
Turold thought her elation at victory very
But fortune was not with Lilith. In ten
minutes they rattled up the drive at Silcote
Dene (no less sleek than their own), and
Lilith herself jumped out at the big front
door and pulled the bell. Mrs. Palmer and
Mrs. Howe were out. The little bits of
pasteboard which Lilith handed in might
possibly be a pleasure to the "good woman";
but they yielded no satisfaction to the visitor
herself, who had wanted a word with a totally
" Is — is young Mr. Palmer here now ? "
faltered Miss Turold in desperation, her
voice hardly audible.
" No, madam," said the man, with a
•servant's waxwork indifference. And Lilith
fled, ashamed of herself, yet in her despair
202 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
faintly hoping the man would whisper to
Tom that she had spoken his name.
Day after day passed, and Lilith put on
a white frock every afternoon and stayed
resolutely at home in the forlorn hope that
Tom might come with his mother when she
made her call. But at last Mr. Turold and
his daughter set off for Scotland ; and it
was not till two days later that Mrs. Palmer
and her husband, and Grace Kidson who
was used to great people, called formally at
Turold Royal. Lilith found a great flight
of their cards when she returned home two
months later, but among them none belong-
ing to her offended lover.
ra n II II II II M 1 1 ir ■■ '■ ■■ *' ■■ ■*!
OVEMBER; the dullest of the months,
but less dull at Turold Royal than
in some places ; for the oaks — numberless
there — keep their leaves longer than any
Lilith, still pale and wistful, has just come
home after her Scotch visits, and she is
in her bedroom with her friend Geraldine
Mount Jocelyn, having a great consultation
about clothes. At least it beQ^an about
" Oh, Lilith ! have you heard about the
Hunt Ball ? " cried Geraldine.
** I heard there was to be none."
'* So did I ; and while you were away
there's been ever such a talk about giving
204 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Up the very hounds. I do believe this is the
stingiest county in England ! What a pity,
Lilith, your Mr. Vane is not a hunting man !
If he were, the M. F. H "
" I'll tell you what I do think, Geral-
dine ! Edward might give the ball this
**No, no; it's all settled; I'm telling you.
It's to come off in a fortnight. But that's
just what has happened, Lilith ; it's to be the
usual kind of ball — in a way — but held in a
private house. Now, just guess who's to
" Lady Mount Jocelyn."
*' Really, Lilith, you are too silly ! Has
mamma ever given a ball ? "
** I can't guess. Not grandpapa, I sup-
" No ; but he approves. He was con-
sulted. He wrote to Lord HIghtowers
"Well, Is It Lord HIghtowers ?"
** My dear, they are all In crepe mourning.
How very stupid you are ! "
" You had better tell me, Geraldlne."
"It's quite a new member of the Hunt.
At least, the son is a member. Your
neighbours, Lilith — the Palmers. Isiit it a
joke ? "
''Who has let them in for this?" cried
Geraldlne, misunderstanding, hastened to
explain. '' They are really not bad, Lilith.
They have had their money some time, and
got used to society in the last place they
lived at. Somehow every one here has come
to know them now in a sort of way, and
every one thinks they had better be made use
of. Of course we must all bring our own
parties to the ball, just as If it was at the
Raven at Molesworthy. Going to Silcote
Dene In that sort of Avay will commit us to
" Geraldlne, you are horrid ! It's like
206 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
taking the money straight out of Mr.
Palmer s pocket ! "
*' People of that sort get tolerated only
because of their money."
'' It's the meanest reason for toleration
which I ever heard."
'' Well, it's the same everywhere. Lilith,
I did not know you were so fierce about the
Palmers. You must get over it, and come
to the ball."
'' I don't suppose we shall go," said Miss
" But, Lilith, why not ? We are going.
And every one. Your Mr. Vane is going.
He told me so. And I thought you had
called on Mrs. Palmer ? I do assure you
she isn't half bad. And oh, Lilith — have you
seen the son ? He is so handsome. Ouite
distinguished-looking, in appearance and
everything. A Cambridge man — fair, tall,
just exactly what I admire. He was there
the last time we called."
Lilith was silent, counting how many
fingers she had, and Geraldine chattered
" And he's hardly ever here ; hardly any
one has seen him but we : that's what is
such fun. And he's engaged to that lovely
*' Oh, indeed ; " said Lilith.
" Don't you know Miss Kidson ? She's
the most beautiful woman I ever saw — only
she wears no stays. You can't think what
a fine-looking couple they'll be."
" Of course I know Miss Kidson," said
Lilith, putting her fingers away as if at last
satisfied that she had eight and two thumbs.
" Who told you she was engaged to Mr.
Palmer } "
"Your Mr. Vane, I think. I'm sure I
wish it wasn't true. Any one's brother
might marry Miss Kidson ; and as for young
Mr. Palmer, with his looks and all that
money, I don't see why he shouldn't have
one of us — Carry, or Adela, or me."
" Geraldine, you are horrid ! "
208 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
" Mamma always tells us that as we've
only about (^\d. each, we can't possibly marry
men without money. That's true of you
too, Lilith. You know a rich man has been
chosen for you.'*
Lilith rose with dignity, and began brush-
ing her hair.
"• No, Geraldine," she said ; *' I do not
intend to marry. Women are twice as
superior, and useful, and valuable, if they
aren't married. They can visit the poor,
and sit on the School Board " (all this was
quotation). " It's a wretched fate for an in-
telligent creature to be shut up during her
whole life with one uninteresting man and
a swarm of noisy children. It is like a
rabbit to have a whole pack of babies. And,
indeed, Geraldine, I doubt your story about
Miss Kidson's engagement, for I have heard
her say the very same thing."
'* But no one means that sort of talk," said
Geraldine. " I've heard mamma go on like
it for an hour. It's one of the Radical
formulas, isn't it ? I can't think where yoti
got it, dear. And as for Miss Kidson, I
saw her and young Mr. Palmer together ;
and any one with half an eye can see that
she is over head and ears in love with him,
whatever her theories may be. And I'm
sure I don't wonder in the least."
" Will you look at my new dress, now,
Geraldine ? " said Lilith.
*' I don't care a button about your dress,'*
urged Miss Mount Jocelyn, trying on all
her friend's hats ; '* but I do care very much
about your coming to the ball. I intend
myself to introduce young Mr. Palmer to
you ; and if you don't admire him, I'll never
speak to you again, Lilith," she ended
It is needless to say that Gilbert Turold,
on hearing of the ball, was vastly displeased.
When he further listened to his father
defending the arrangement, he decided that
symptoms of mental weakness had appeared
in the old man, who, to save a few paltry
VOL. I. 14
2IO THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
pounds, was thus forgetting the family tra-
ditions, and allowing the whole neighbour-
hood to lie under an obligation to these
But it was too late to protest ; the whole
thing was settled, and invitations to Gilbert
himself and to his daughter were already
staring him in the face.
*' Pshaw ! " he said, and tore them up and
flung them into the paper-basket. But Lilith
picked them out again, and pieced the torn
edges together, and stood meekly before
him as if awaiting commands.
"■ Papa," said Lilith, '* let us go." She
spoke with great energy.
" I shall exhibit my strong disapprobation
by staying away," returned her father.
" Please, papa, let me go," pleaded Lilith.
'* The Mount Jocelyns always come to us
for the Hunt Ball, and you know I like to go
everywhere with Geraldine ; and Edward is
going, and everybody."
" You tempt me sometimes, my dear, to
REMORSE. 2 1 1
think you are not a reasonable creature,"
said Mr. Turold.
But she got her way in the end, of course,
and she ordered a very beautiful new white
dress for the occasion from her best dress-
maker, regardless of economy. No cold or
headache, no authority of her elders could
have kept Lilith away from that ball. He
would have to be there. All these wretched
months she had waited, and possessed her
soul in impatience and misery ; now at last
it was coming to an end. She would be
in the same house with Tom, and she would
not leave it till she had made him an
apology for the ** insults she had heaped
upon him." So she expressed it to herself.
ILCOTE DENE, described from the
Turold point of view as a gimcrack
villa, was nevertheless an extremely nice
house. The rooms were well-shaped and
spacious ; the hall, lofty ; the stair, imposing.
Whoever had arranged the decorations to-
night, had done his work well ; there were
banks of palms and trails of ivy ; flowers in
profusion ; everything bizarre or questionable
Mrs. Howe was mistress of the cere-
monies ; she was an imitation lady so suc-
cessful that it needed a very connoisseur to
detect the fraud. On the other hand, there
was nothing fraudulent about Grace, who,
in any company, was just herself, and never
for an Instant tried to be anything else ; she
was the beauty of the evening, beyond all
question. Mr. Palmer, with his white hair
and kind face, did not take much notice of
his guests beyond smiling on them out of
his goodwill and contentment. In the son
of the house was Louisa's stron^ confidence :
Tom, like herself, had good instincts,
memory, a clear head, self-possession, and
common sense, while he had the advantaore
of her in looks and in education. Louisa
instructed Tom very ably about the choosing
of his partners and the amount of ceremony
to be observed with each.
"And, of course, there's Miss Turold,"
she ended ; *' I don't believe she will come,
but if she does "
'* Leave me to manage Miss Turold," said
Tom, shortly, and turned away. He was
not anticipating enjoyment, for he felt that
his parents had been " put upon," and
were out of their place ; still he meant
to do his duty, and, as far as in him lay.
214 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
to make this ridiculous entertainment a
The party from Turold Royal arrived at
last : the heiress In person ; Lady Mount
Jocelyn and her brood, which included the
young Viscount ; Edward Vane, and a few
others. Mr. Turold had specially com-
mended Lillth to her kinsman's care ;
probably, so Geraldine surmised, Edward's
proposal was to be made to-night, and Mr.
Turold and Lillth herself were fully pre-
pared for it.
Helping her in the alarming task of
receiving her guests, Tom stood by his
mother. The moment had come, thought
Lillth seeing him ; and with it, a thousand
fears came into her heart. She turned scarlet
as she shyly greeted the man she had kissed,
and half held out her hand. Tom bowed
quite politely, without colouring at all ; but
he did not appear to see her hand, and
immediately entered into conversation with
Geraldine Mount Jocelyn.
REMORSE. 2 1 5
" I want to introduce you myself to Miss
Turold," cried Geraldine.
*' We have already been introduced," said
Tom, betraying no restlessness, nor desire
to secure Lilith's promise for a dance.
Soon Geraldine was too busy with her
own affairs to notice her friend's ; she scarcely
observed that Lilith was not dancine with
young Mr. Palmer, and no one else re-
marked upon the fact. It was not un-
likely that the girl, brought up with an
exaggerated sense of her own dignity, might
decline dancing with a mere Tom Palmer,
even though a guest of his father's.
And Lilith guessed that this construction
would be put upon her conduct, and was
ready to cry ; she was managing her engage-
ments with the greatest diplomacy so as to
give Tom a chance at any moment. But
hour after hour passed, and she realized that
he did not intend to dance with her; nay,
nor to speak to her, nor to look at her.
Beyond that one bow at her entrance, he
2l6 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
had not taken the smallest notice of her,
and Lilith was far too shy to walk up to
him and herself insist upon speech. She
was miserable ; she looked sick and wretched ;
though chattering and laughing and dancing
excitedly, she was longing for one moment
only, the moment for escape. She asked
herself if there could be a girl in the whole
world so unhappy as she.
"I must get away from home," she thought;
" I can't go on living next door to a man
who despises me. I will please papa and
marry Edward ; or the man grandpapa has
found for me, whoever he may be. Oh, how
miserable, how very very miserable I am ! "
She had strayed into the music-room for a
few minutes' rest. A number of elderly
people were sitting there, and Tom was
standing near the piano, talking music with
an old lady, a ci-devant amateur of note.
** I say, Lilith," said Lord Mount Jocelyn,
an old playmate of Miss Turold's, and a
favourite, " are you engaged for the next ? "
REMORSE. 2 I 7
"Why, of course I am, Jock."
*' What a rude question ! Go away ! " She
spoke crossly, for she was so weary and sick
at heart, and Tom did give her a quarter of
a glance this time ; of disapprobation, she
fancied. He was at the piano now, forced
to it by the musical lady.
" Oh, I declare ! " murmured Lilith. " I
came in to escape from noise ; and really
one can hear the band."
Tom's ears were sharp, and he was listen-
ing. She did not want to hear him sing ;
that was it. His passions were roused.
They were at war, Lilith and he ; she should
feel his power. He began the song — the
Luxor song, Lilith's song, quite unsuited to
the demands of the musical lady —
" Oh love ! my love ! If I no more should see
" Mount Jocelyn," said LIHth, rising, '' I'll
dance with you. Take me away from here
2l8 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Greatly astonished, the young lad obeyed.
He confided presently in his mother.
" I don't believe Lilith is well,'* he said
anxiously. "She's as cross as two sticks,
and I thought she was going to cry ; and
she tells lies about her dances."
They were at supper by this time, and
Lady Mount Jocelyn herself was made
uneasy by her charge's pale looks. She
forbade the girl to begin dancing again at
once, and requested Mr. Howe to take her
to some quiet place for an interval of repose.
" I will send Geraldine to find out what's
the matter," reflected the mother, knowing
the ways of girls.
As ill-luck would have it, Mr. Howe found
'* the quiet place " close to where Louisa and
Tom were holding a short consultation.
Tom, indeed, had to move a little to make
room for Miss Turold, who sat down
abruptly, having felt all of a sudden as
if she were sfoinof to faint. Louisa looked
vexed ; and Mr. Howe, aware from his
Spouse's frown that he had done something
stupid, fled awkwardly. Lilith looked round
for Edward to deliver her ; he was not in
sight ; only Mount Jocelyn, and, as everyone
knows, boys are useless in emergencies.
His one idea was revenge for her naughti-
" This is our dance, Jock. Third extra,"
said Lilith, appealingly.
" Oh, mother says you're to rest," said the
Viscount ; '* and as you did give • me an
extra, and as you aren't trustworthy, I'm
engaged to some one else now. Good-bye,
Lilith." He went off, smiling impertinently
back at her.
Lilith could not conceal her distress. She
got up and sat down again confusedly ; and
Louisa Howe lost her head a little, wonder-
ing that Miss Turold should be so mortified
by the prank of a mischievous boy.
''Aren't you dancing. Miss Turold?"
she said. '' Tom — what are you thinking
2 20 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Tom was as much annoyed as Llllth ; but
with Louisa and other people looking on,
only one course was possible.
'' May I have the pleasure ? " he said
stiffly, anticipating repulse.
" Yes," said Lilith, soundlessly, and stood
up holding out her hands.
It was done so quickly that neither quite
realized what had happened, as they floated
away among the other couples. They did
not speak. The mere idea of speech terri-
fied Lilith now, and she was aware that
Tom's arm round her was trembling, and
that he also was ''feeling it."
" Don't — don't stop," said the girl, ner-
vously ; and they went on and on to the
entire admiration of all spectators.
But the necessity for breath came at last,
and rather suddenly. Tom heard a little
gasp from Lilith, and she seemed to struggle
out of his arm. Then he saw she was in
tears. Quick as thought he had borne her
through the curtain which shut off the ball-
room from the passage to the big green-
house ; and they were alone.
'' I— I'm tired, I think," sobbed LiHth.
Tom took her to a low seat at the far end
of the conservatory, among the tree ferns
and hanging mosses. There was very little
light ; the nook was screened from view, and
had, indeed, remained undiscovered.
" Shall I bring you anything, Miss
Turold ? " he asked.
'' No, no ; I don't want anything," said
Lilith, fighting for composure, and leaning
back with her eyes shut.
Tom took her fan and fanned her quietly.
He also was fighting with himself; the long-
ing to kiss that slender, trembling hand, that
fair heaving neck, was almost unbearable.
" I want to speak to you," said Lilith at
last, sitting up straight, and thinking her
best chance lay in reproaches ; " why have
you been so unkind ? Why have you kept
away all these months and avoided me, and
never eiven me a chance of one sincrle word
22 2 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
till now, when Mrs. Howe forced you to ?
It has not been generous ! "
" Miss Turold " began Tom ; but she
'' Oh, I knozu it was all my fault ; I know
I was unpardonable. Haven't I made my-
self quite ill with thinking of it '^ You might
have given me the chance just to say I was
'' But I had no right to expect that," said
Tom, drawing a little nearer.
"" I am sorry," said Lilith, looking at the
roof again. '' Of course I was sorry the
very next minute. I shouldn't have believed
I could do such a thing ! I wish you could
forgive me," she ended, tearfully.
" Hush ! you mustn't cry like this — about
nothing," said Tom, and touched her fingers
for a moment. " Let us be friends," he said
'* Yes, yes ; let us be friends. Oh, if you
could ever understand — about papa and
'* But I do understand perfectly," said
Tom, gently stroking her wrist with one
finger. " You thought I had presumed once
upon your kindness, and you were afraid I
might do it again. But, jMiss Turold, you —
I mean — your slightest wish in a matter of
that sort — of any sort — would be law to me."
Though he stammered, his very agitation
made his manner cold.
'' I see you are very angry with me,"
" You had a perfect right to do just what
you pleased. You mustn't think any more
"Oh, I must. I must. It is so dreadful
to have some one thinking me rude, and
heartless, and — and Oh, don't you know
what I mean .^ "
There was a pause.
'' No," said Tom, in a different tone, '' I
am not sure that I do know quite what you
mean ! "
'' It isn't only that. It was before that
224 '^HE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Sunday at all. I have been wretched ever
since I spoke to you last. You said such
cruel things to me. You went away
believing such dreadful things. Because I
had made a mistake, because you — made me
do that — what I did do — you went away
thinking I was a girl without any heart,
or principles, or right feeling "
** I never thought any worse of you than
what you said yourself."
" I don't know what I did say. Oh, tell
me what I said which made you think so
badly of me ! "
'' Is it wise to go back upon this ? " said
Tom, fiercely, with white lips.
" I must have it explained. You don't
know what it is to a girl to have any one —
to have you — thinking badly of her. To
think she had given you any cause "
Tom flung himself on his knees beside
her, his hands on her arm.
" Think badly of you, Lilith ? Never !
How could you suppose it for a moment ? "
There was a silence. Tom was watching
her, and Lillth was looking away at the
palms straggling to the roof.
" But you were so angry with me," she
went on. '' You said "
" Never that ! It is impossible. Angry ?
Was I angry ? I was bewildered. We had
kissed each other. A kiss meant everything
to me, Lillth. I did not realize there could
be two views of it. I had never kissed any
one before "
** Nor I," burst in Lillth, in an agony ;
'* never, 7iever ! And I never will again.
Oh, how could you think — how could you
believe that I — that people who were
*' That you could kiss a man who was
only a pleasant acquaintance," said Tom,
dryly, as she could get no further.
'' Ah, you do remember, you see ! You
did think badly of me." She covered her
face with her hands, and the tears rolled
through her fingers.
VOL. I. 15
2 26 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Tom rose and stood at a little distance,
" Then you had some feeling for me — ^just
for the minute — when you kissed me ? "
said Tom, still dryly.
*' Oh, you are cruel to make me say such
a thing ! Yes, I suppose I had — ^just for the
minute. I had rather you thought that
than what you have been thinking ! "
'' Don't you see," said Tom, in a low
voice, " it was a second view of a kiss
where I had fancied only one. With you
it was 'just for the minute,' a moment's
excitement, what you might feel for any
one; but with me," he went on, drawing
nearer and taking her hand, '' it meant love
— ^just that, neither more nor less ; the love
of my whole heart. Perhaps it was too
much meaning to put into one kiss, but that
is what I meant. You didn't understand.
Do you understand me now ? " All this
time he was holding her hands crushed
in his, and Lilith did not take them away.
'' Do you understand now ? " he repeated
" Oh," murmured Lilith, dehriously,
" I'd give anything if you could forgive
Then he pressed her hand to his lips,
smiling a litde as she gazed up at the still,
starlit heaven through the palm branches
and the glass roof.
'' Lilith — darling — will you give me a kiss
now ? " said Tom at last, very quietly.
N hour later they were still there, but
sitting side by side, his arm round
her, their hands clasped. Lilith's eyes were
sparkling and her cheeks were pink with
happiness. Her hair was rough, and one of
the roses she had been wearing had gone
into Tom's buttonhole. They were no
longer in the least tragic.
'* May I call you Lilith now, my
treasure ? "
'' And you do love me ? "
" And did you love me when you kissed
me the first time ? "
" Oh, Tom, I didn't know it ! "
'* My own darling ! "
** Won't you forgive me now ? "
"There is nothing left to forgive. We
meant the same thing by that kiss, after all.'*
" Tom ! Something dreadful ! Let me
hide In your arm again ! Yes, like that !
Please kiss me while I ask It— It's a
dreadful question. Have I been makino-
love to you this evening .^ '*
" I think you have rather."
" Oh, Tom ! What shall I do If you think
that ? I haven't."
" It is my turn now."
" I haven't. Say, I haven't. I was only
'* Is she happy now ? "
" Pretty well. Tom, say I haven't."
"Do you think I should have dared to
make love to my princess again, If she
hadn't — told me I mlgrht ? "
" Tom, I didn't tell you ! I didn't."
" You told me with those dear, dear eyes,
and these thin little fingers," said Tom,
230 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
smiling, as Lilith twisted them round one of
his and pulled it playfully.
" I never meant to, then ! Tom, can you
forget that day at church when I "
" When you prevented me from saying my
prayers, Lilith. I was loving you all the
" I thought you would know I was loving
you all the time, if I spoke to you."
"A very ingenious excuse, Lilith, which
you have only just thought of."
'' But I really believe it is true."
'' Lilith, I have something here which I
am half afraid to show you, but which I have
carried about with me ever since I came
home to England after seeing you." He
produced a very small, old-fashioned red-
leather box, and took from it a ring, old-
fashioned also, of fine black pearls set in
gold, the entire hoop.
*' Tom, you bought that for some one
"■ I did not buy it. It was handed over
REMORSE. 2 3 I
to me years ago, as having been my mother's.
I don't know its history ; it's a queer ugly
old thing ; but when I came home I put it in
my pocket and have carried it about ever
since — iov you^
" But why ? How could you know
you'd have an opportunity of giving it to
me ? "
'' I suppose — don't be angry, Lilith — I
had a little, dim suspicion that you did love
me all the time."
*' It was very presumptuous of you to
think anything of the sort ! " said Lilith,
stretching out her finger for the ring.
" My darling," said Tom, presently, his
arm still round her, " now let us talk
business. What will your father say ? "
'' I can't think," said Lilith ; '' that is just
it — I can't think what papa will say. I have
such a fear that he mayn't be altogether so
pleased as I am. Tom, must we tell him ?
Mightn't we have a few happy days together
first ? "
232 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
" I am going to tell your father the first
thing to-morrow morning."
" Oh, Tom, no ! Why, he doesn't even
know I am acquainted with you."
" Really ? Then you did not think it was
coming to this ? " He looked at her a little
anxiously. ** Lilith, I wonder if you really
do mean it, or whether you'll be sorry again
to-morrow ? "
'' Do you believe in me so little ? "
" I believe you love me. My own darling
Lilith! yes, I know you do. But " Tom
paused. ** Do you love me enough to fight
your family for me ? Will you take a day
or two, dearest, to think it over ? "
*' It would be better than I mean,"
said Tom, impetuously, " I should hate to be
thrown over later."
" Oh, don't say it ! I wouldnt ! "
''Or to feel that I had asked too much,
and that / was bound, for very love's sake,
to throw you over. Or worse than either,
to know that we were tied for life and that
you were unhappy."
" The only thing which could make me
unhappy," said Lilith, *' would be to lose
you now or at any time. Oh, do believe
me ! I am not very brave. I don't wonder
you think so, when I have shown myself so
cowardly. But it will be quite different, with
you to help me. I could face the whole
world with your arm round me, Tom ! "
'' Very well, Lilith. And perhaps we
shan't have to fight so hard as we think.
I have some advantages. Do you know,
my sweet, what my best argument will
"■ That you are yourself."
" I'm afraid not. That Lilith loves me!'
" Papa won't care a ^g for that ! And, oh,
Tom, I have a grandfather."
" I don't care a fig for a grandfather."
*' But such a grandfather ! He has never
been disobeyed in all his whole life. Papa-
won't go against him, I know, whatever he
2 34 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
might think himself. And he is very old.
He has forgotten how young people feel.
He likes snuffy elderly persons with stammers
and cork legs. He won't admire you a bit,
"Well, my Lilith, I can't see that I have
anything to do with him. I shall address my-
self to your father, and as soon as possible."
'' Yes, Tom ; only not to-morrow, please.
We must prepare him gradually."
** Because he may not approve ? "
"■ I wish I could think he would approve !
Tom, I'll be brave with you, anyhow, and say
the truth. I am quite sure he won't approve."
" Then you must be brave all round,
Lilith, and let me tell him to-morrow. Don't
you see, my sweet, I can't be making love
to you behind his back when he wouldn't
approve of it."
" But you are doing it now ! " cried Lilith.
'* Oh, Tom, two days ! Let me just tell him
I know you, and have danced with you, and
" I don't think it would do a bit of good,
Lilith ; and I should feel a sneak, and you'd
be cutting me again when we came out of
church on Sunday."
Then voices were heard ; that of Lady
Mount Jocelyn, approaching, but happily not
quite to the nook ; so the pair remained
hidden there, silent and smiling, and pinch-
inof each other's fineers.
" Mr. Palmer, I wonder if you could find
Miss Turold for me ? No one seems to
know what has become of her. She was
seen dancing with your son, but that was a
long time ago. She is not strong. I do
hope nothing has happened to her!" Her
ladyship passed on ; but the interview was
ended, and presently the lovers emerged
from their seclusion and rejoined the world.
Lilith smiled to herself the whole way
home that night, but she said scarcely a
word to any one. She had given no ex-
planation of her long disappearance ; and
after it she had refused to dance, and had
236 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
offered no objection when her chaperon sug-
gested returning home.
Mr. Turold had gone to bed, but on hear-
ing the wheels he put on his dressing-gown
and came out to meet the girls on their way
to their rooms.
He was pleased to find Llllth all sparkles,
gay as a lark, with flushed cheeks and
radiant eyes. He asked her a very few
questions, which she answered enigmatic-
ally ; but he made out that she had ac-
complished a reconciliation with an enemy,
and that she was the happiest girl In Eng-
land, and that to-morrow she was coming to
him to ask a boon, and that the ball had
been the very nicest she ever was at. Mr.
Turold retired to his bed-chamber, satisfied
that the child had made up her quarrel with
Edward and had accepted him for a hus-
band. So that all was well. ,
Meantime Tom Palmer was telling the
news to the dear old man, his father.
*' I am. coming back to live at home," he
said; "here, at Silcote Dene. You were
quite on the wrong scent. She doesn't Hve
in London. She Hves here ; and now she
is mine, my Lilith. She is LiHth Turold."
** My dear boy!" exclaimed Mr. Palmer,
staggering in unutterable dismay. " Well !
well ! well ! Lilith Turold ! Lilith Turold ! "
Tom, too much excited to notice his con-
cern, told the whole story from beginning
to end, and Mr. Palmer listened almost in
silence ; saying to himself, " My God ! my
God ! I shall be obliged to tell him now,
and it'll separate us, as sure as fate. He'd
be my son still if he heard he was Robinson
or Thompson. But own cousin of his girl's !
It'll come between us. God help me to
'' You don't like my news," ended Tom ;
"you have something on your mind, dad.
Let's have it."
Mr. Palmer walked backwards and for-
wards in great agitation.
*' Do you expect that vain man, her father,
238 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
will give her to the son of a chap who began
life as a common workman ? "
''Who is the best of men," cried Tom ;
''who has done what probably Mr. Turold
couldn't have done : has raised himself to
the level of a gentleman by his own exertions
" I know better than you, Tom, if you
suppose he thinks me on his level. He
may be more indulgent to you," ended Mr.
Palmer, proudly conscious of having edu-
cated his boy with the best.
"Whether we're on his level or not," said
Tom, " he's got to take me for a son-in-law.
Don't, father, stare at me in that dis-
" If you were ready, Tom, to leave your
own class — my class — and take your place in
his ? to follow the Bible text literally, leave
father and mother and cleave to your wife '^, "
Tom was surprised to see how pale Mr.
Palmer had become.
" I don't understand what you mean, dad.
Something was said, I believe, about Lilith's
husband taking her name.''
" Yo2i to be called Turold, Tom ! "
" Would you object to that, father ? What's
in a name ? As for in any way dismember-
ing myself from you, why, they'd never ask
it ! I should be a manifest beast to enter-
tain such a notion for an instant."
'* Tom, would you sooner have this girl or
be my son ? "
" Dear dad," said the son, distressed, '* I
never heard you talk nonsense before. I'm
sure I don't know. The alternative Is for-
Mr. Palmer with difficulty suppressed a
groan. He saw how matters w^ere tending,
and it was clear to him that he must not
stand In his dear lad's way. Why, oh ! why
had he not told him the truth long ago ?
Yet Mr. Palmer did not proceed to tell
him even now ; for, remembering Stephen
Turold's evil career, he felt by no means
certain that- a revelation of the truth would
240 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
smooth matters for the lovers. Mr. Turold
might object to the son of a criminal and a
suicide quite as much as to the son of an
honest tradesman, In which case It would be
useless to distress the boy by robbing him
of the parents whom now he respected and
loved. It was a matter In which rash speech
was not to be undertaken ; so Mr. Palmer
for the present still kept silence, only sighing
again and again heavily.
'' My news has depressed you, father,"
said Tom. *' That's because you do not
know my sweet Lilith. But don't suppose
for a single moment that I would buy any
happiness by neglecting my duty to you."
He hesitated, flushing a little. ''Duty! I
never considered the question of duty to you
before. But I know there never was a fellow
with greater cause for gratitude and — all
that, to his father, than I have. You won't
catch me forgetting that, whatever happens."
''My dear, dear boy!" said poor Mr.
Palmer, greatly moved.
DEUS EX MA CHINA.
ISS TUROLD is still asleep, sir,"
said Lilith's maid, when it was nearly
twelve, and the Mount Jocelyns were coming
down to breakfast, wide awake and very
Mr. Turold softly opened the child's door
and went in. Lilith's room was very
pleasant, large, and deeply recessed with
oriel windows overgrown with jessamine.
It looked out over the park and the stream-
washed valley ; to the left, an opening in the
trees of Silcote Dene showed distant pas-
tures and hedgerows with far-away blue
VOL. I. ^g
242 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
hills. The bed was curtained In pale greens
and blues, very delicate against the dark
oak panelling ; little blue gods and beads
and scarabs, Arabian tiles, fragments of
antique glass, ralnbow-hued ; verdigris copper
mirrors and old bronzes were hung on the
walls. Books were strewn about ; and on a
small oak table was a great bowl of late
roses : Edward's present to her yesterday.
Lillth's small head, her hair unbound and a
smile on her lips, rested daintily on the
scarce ruffled pillow ; on the sheet lay for-
getfully her slender, dimpled hand, and on It
she wore one ring. There was a history In
that plain hoop of black pearls, and Mr.
Turold smiled, seeing it.
** Curious," he said to himself. '* I was
thinking of giving her its match yesterday
from her mother's jewel-box. I knew there
was a second, but not that It had wandered
round the family to Edward. Well, it's
pretty, but of no great value. The pattern
is common enough. Dear child, how she
DEUS EX MACHINA. 243
smiles In her sleep ! She is almost as pretty
as her mother — almost. Well, you lazy
puss ! I hope you have had good dreams —
of lovers, eh ? Good morning ! "
*'Oh, papa! is it to-morrow? Must I
get up ? Did you come to wake me, papa ? "
" I came — to give you a kiss, my pet. I
shan't have many more chances if that mous-
tachioed fellow "
Lilith gave a little scream.
*' Papa, be quiet ! You don't suppose I'd
let any one with a moustache Papa, if
some one came to see you, you would hear
what he had to say very patiently ? And
you wouldn't make me unhappy, not even
to please grandpapa 1 "
This speech puzzled Mr. Turold a little ;
but only a little, for girls always talk much
"Your grandfather will not offer serious
opposition, Lilith," he said.
And she stroked his hand, wondering"
if by artifice she had pledged him to
244 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
consent, or If he had somehow ** found
out " already. If so, what a kind, dear
father not to scold her ! The goose did
not think of delusion and of Edward.
She had dismissed her cousin so decisively
from her own thoughts that she forgot he
might be lingering on in the thoughts of
others. She dressed herself hurriedly,
hoping that Tom would arrive early, as
papa seemed in such a very good temper
Unfortunately, Mr. Turold's good temper
early received a shock. He had not finished
his breakfast when he was summoned by the
old despot, and of course hurried to him at
once, redolent of coffee, his Q.gg broken but
not yet tasted. The old man was in any-
thing but a pleasant humour.
'* What's all this nonsense of breakfasting
at twelve o'clock, eh ? Lllith not down yet .^
Mount Jocelyn not down yet ? What have
you got Mount Jocelyn here for "^ " He^
not a match for Lillth. A mere boy ! Oh,
DEUS EX MACHINA. 245
I dare say ! You've brought up that girl so
badly you'll have her running away one of
these days with some mere boy. Now just
you listen to me," he went on, flinging a
couple of letters on the table, as if for Gilbert
to read, but snatching them away jealously
the moment his son touched them ; '' I'm
going to brook no more opposition in the
matter. I'm going to take it into my own
hands. I have heard this morning from my
candidate for Lilith, and, look you, I intend
to close with his offer.''
'' Who is he ? "
*' I am too much irritated by you, Gilbert,
to gratify your curiosity. Here's his letter,
though. It's no humbug. He's a very
wealthy, suitable man. You'll probably re-
ceive a visit from him in a day or two. Now
I have told you what I wish. You can go."
" My dear sir, Lilith's consent must be
asked before either you or I can proceed in
such a matter. I am sorry to disappoint
you, but I may say she will not give her
246 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
consent. I am to-day expecting Edward
Vane to conclude his engagement to my
" Edward Vane ! I despise him and his
"- I am sorry, sir. I intend to support
them. It is not fair on Vane to draw back
now. It is not fair on Lilith, whose affections
are engaged. Your candidate is too late.
As I have nothing to do with him, and don't
even know his name, I beg you will tell him
'' But this is intolerable ! " cried the old
man. " If you choose to live under my roof,
Gilbert, dependent on me, you must obey
They eyed each other for a minute.
Both were obstinate men ; apt to carry out
threats, though sometimes hasty in making
them. However, Gilbert reflected that he
did not want to be turned penniless out of
his home ; and the old man remembered
that he would be altogether ruined if he
DEUS EX MACHINA. 247
quarrelled with his only son. They parted
a little more stormily than usual, yet without
any open breach. Decidedly that old auto-
crat had lived too long, and Gilbert was
confirmed in his opinion that his mind was
Yet the father smiled as he descended the
stair, for he caught a glimpse of a slender
figure in an oriel window, half rolled up in a
curtain, and with bright eyes fixed on the
road. That was Lilith looking out for her
lover. And her father smiled.
Some one else saw the bright eyes at the
window. Tom Palmer had come. He rode
upon a very good horse, and felt what he was,
a young man of fortune on whom as yet the
world had smiled. Nevertheless, running
his eye over the fine old house which he had
not seen at close quarters before, perceiving
it substantial and beautiful, written over
with history, and full of sentiment and of
importance, in every respect unlike the brand,
new villa at Silcote Dene, he quaked a
248 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
little, becoming conscious of great personal
insignificance, and muttering to himself, " Que
diable venait-il faire dans cette galere ? "
And then, still running his glance over the
walls, and the mullions, and the doorways,
and the battlements, he met the blue eyes
at the oriel window, and saw rosy finger tips
raised to smiling lips. And Tom smiled too
and forgot his qualms.
*' Mr. Palmer, sir, is in the drawing-room.
He asked for you on business, sir."
" The devil he did ! " exclaimed Mr.
Turold, internally. "Yates, go and tell
Mr. Palmer I'm engaged."
" It's Mr. Thomas Palmer, sir," said Yates.
Mr. Turold saw in this no mitigation of
"Just what I expected!" he soliloquized;
''one thing leads to another. First, these
people are allowed to build a villa opposite
to my windows. Next, they come to my
flower show. Then I am dragged into
calling. Then Lilith is forced to their ball.
DEUS EX MACHINA, 249
And now they drop into my house famiHarly
in the morning, without an invitation and on
terms of equahty. I suppose it's the fault of
those silly Mount Jocelyns, who haven't an
ounce of discrimination."
Meantime Yates had deposited the visitor
in the drawing-room, and had no sooner
gone in search of his master than Lilith
joyously appeared through a curtain.
"Hush! they are all in there!" she
whispered, pointing to the room she had
quitted. Tom held out his arms, and, with
glowing cheeks, she advanced shyly, and
was folded in them.
'' Has she repented ?" whispered Tom.
'' Does she love me still ? "
They kissed soundlessly, and were silent
a moment looking at each other, Lilith with
sparkling eyes, her finger on her lips.
But at last Tom did gain audience from
Gilbert, and followed Yates to the library, his
250 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
heart beating with unconscious trepidation.
Tom knew Mr. Turold by sight ; but young
Palmer was quite strange to Gilbert Turold.
He saw at a glance that the fellow w^as
better looking, better got up, and better
mannered than his father ; not to be snubbed
with the precise same snub which Mr.
Turold would have administered to the older
** It is hardly in my power to offer you
a seat, Mr. Palmer," said Gilbert Turold,
looking at his watch. " My time is not my
own this morning. I am momently expect-
ing an urgent visitor. However — yes, take
a chair, and excuse me if I ask you to enter
upon your business without any preamble."
This was rather agitating. Tom did not
sit down ; he remained by the open fire-
place, his foot absently rubbing the blood-
hound which had wandered in from the hall ;
and he looked at the great man, and tried
to fathom his nature, so as to frame appro-
priate and persuasive words.
DEUS EX MACHINA, 25 r
Mr. Turold was irritated, and so appa-
rently was the dog which growled audibly.
" I advise you to let that beast alone,"
said Gilbert Turold ; '' he is fierce, and he
resents liberties openly. Will you excuse
my again hurrying you, Mr. Palmer ? "
'' I'm sorry you are hurried," sighed Tom,
"for I fear you'll think me abrupt whatever
way I put it. My request "
"A request?" said Mr. Turold, coldly;
adding to himself, " I'll refuse it."
The blood mounted in Tom's face, as he
said slowly : " Mr. Turold, I have come to
ask your consent — to marry your daughter."
Gilbert Turold started out of his chair.
" I beg your pardon. Did you say to
marry ? Whom ? "
"Your daughter — Miss Turold — Lilith."
Tom was as pale now as he had been red
a moment before ; his hope of easy victory
had oozed out at his finger ends.
The fierce hound, which apparently shared
his master's moods, was on his feet by this
252 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
time, growling savagely at the intruder.
Mr. Turold took up the young man's card
and re-read it. Had he made some strange
confusion, and was this person not the
paraffin merchant's son, but his father's un-
named matrimonial candidate ? No ; it was
plain as printer's ink could make it, '' Mr.
Thomas Palmer, Silcote Dene."
At this moment the bloodhound — a huge,
magnificent beast, prize-winner from his
birth, his master's pride, and the terror of
all strangers — having crouched for some
seconds unobserved, made a spring at the
young man's throat. Tom started at this
sudden onslaught, but exhibited no great
discomposure. With both hands he seized
the animal before he had attained his grasp,
tore him down, and flung him on the rug
with a kick. Tamburlaine growled more
fiercely than ever, but he lay there with
evident doubts about renewing the combat.
Tom had not changed his position, but he
kept his eye on the brute.
DEUS EX MA CHINA. 253
" I'm afraid of your dog," he said pre-
sently, " and he interrupts. Must he
" You don't seem mtcch afraid of him,"
said Mr. Turold, laughing, with some un-
willing admiration. '' Has he bitten you,
Mr. Palmer ? "
" No, not yet. My request, sir "
** I regret extremely that you should have
made it. I can hardly understand your
invitation of the only possible reply. I
must say ' No' sir ; most distinctly. And,
what is more, I must positively forbid you,
in my daughter's interest and in your own,
to approach her with a single word on the
subject. My daughter is very young and
inexperienced. Where I see only — igno-
rance, Mr. Palmer, she may imagine — deli-
berate impertinence. I speak plainly."
Tom felt himself flushing again.
" I have spoken to your daughter, sir.
She knows I am here."
" What do you mean } "
2 54 ^^^ PRINCESS ROYAL.
'' I have asked Miss Turold. She has
" Consented to what ? "
" To be my wife."
** Good God ! the man must be mad ! "
exclaimed Mr. Turold.
" I love Lilith and she loves me!" cried
Tom. '' We have told each other so. She
is ready to marry me."
'* Do you mean to imply that my daughter
is mad?" said Mr. Turold, rising and ring-
ing the bell. ''Yates, send Miss Turold
to me at once," he said.
Tamburlaine had crept out from under his
master s chair ; and was again growling and
crouching before the visitor, who gave him
one little kick and took no further notice of
him. Angry as Gilbert Turold was, he yet
admired Tom's method with the dog, and
while waiting for Lilith even made one or two
insignificant observations about his kennels.
*' Lilith, stand there, my dear. Do you
know this gentleman } "
DEUS EX MACHINA. 255
*' Yes, papa," said Lilith, trembling.
'* He says — he has made proposals to
" Yes, papa dear," murmured Lilith.
" Did you not reject them ? "
" No, papa. I told you "
'' Be quiet. Have you taken leave of
your senses, my dear ? How long have
you known this gentleman ? Since last
night ? "
" We met in Egypt," said Tom, " and got
to know each other very well there."
" Good heavens ! Is this the case,
'' Yes, papa. Oh, papa, turn Tamburlaine
out! He's going to fly at him."
"• Mr. Palmer is quite able to defend
himself from Tamburlaine. Have you been
deceiving me all these months, Lilith, and
carrying on a clandestine "
" No," broke in Tom, '' we have had no
'' Is that so, Lilith ? "
256 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
** Yes," said Lillth, frightened, and moving
towards her lover.
"Don't attempt to touch her, sir ! You
may go, LiHth. I will speak to you pre-
sently. Take Tamburlaine with you."
Mr. Turold reseated himself.
" This affair has a more serious complexion
than I thought," he said presently. " I am
sorry to doubt you, Mr. Palmer, still more
sorry to doubt my daughter ; but if there
was nothing clandestine in your acquaintance,
why was I not informed of it ? I remember
now seeing you one evening when we came
out of church, and Miss Turold passed you
without any sign of recognition. How was
that ? "
Tom coloured and was silent.
"Her action and your own are incon-
sistent with your statements. Either you
are overstating the matter in saying your
acquaintance verged in any degree upon
intimacy, in which case your proposal last
night can only be attributed to — I really
DEUS EX MACHINA. 257
do not know what to suggest, unless the
excitements of a ball supper — or you have
been carrying on a secret courtship, which
you have the grace to be ashamed of."
" Indeed, you are mistaken, sir. I asked
Miss Turold at Luxor to marry me. She
refused me then. I suppose she thought
everything was at an end. She had every
right to cut me afterwards, if she chose."
" Then, may I ask what right had you to
exchanore another word with her ? "
" She told me she was sorry."
*' Sorry for what ? "
'' I asked her again if she could love me,
and she said yes. That was at two o'clock
this morningf, sir, and now I am here to tell
you. I could hardly have come sooner."
" Mr. Palmer, your justification is quite
inadequate. You tell me my daughter re-
fused you, and expressed in the plainest
way — in too plain a way, unless she had
positive rudeness to complain of — her de-
termination to have no more to do with
VOL. I. 17
258 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
you, knowing, of course, that you are not
a possible person to pretend to her hand.
And in spite of all this you force your atten-
tions upon her, and contrive somehow to
decoy her from her principles. It has been
most dishonourable conduct, Mr. Palmer.''
'' Indeed, your expressions are too strong!"
cried Tom. "I can't repeat everything Lilith
said, which made me know I might speak
again. I have done nothing dishonourable,
unless to love her is dishonourable. Why
do you say I am an impossible person to
pretend to her hand ? "
** If you ask an explanation you shall have
it distinctly. My daughter cannot marry
out of her class, Mr. Palmer. And let me
tell you I should say precisely the same to
a peer of the realm or to a prince of the
blood. Miss Turold's position is very pecu-
liar. She is the sole heir of my name and
of my property, and she can only marry her
equal. Can you pronounce yourself her
equal, Mr. Palmer?"
DEUS EX MACHINA. 259
" I know I am not her equal," said Tom,
'' Then there is the end of the matter,"
returned INIr. Turold, rising.
Tom plucked up courage again.
" No, sir ; it isn't the end. Rightly or
wrongly, I have won Miss Turold's love, and
I cannot withdraw at once because you tell
me I am not her equal. I don't think she
gives great weight to that ; and I can't and
I won't desert her if she is willing to have
me in spite of it."
" Upon my word, sir ! Do you consider
it an honourable course to tempt a mere
child to defy her family ? "
'' I mean that the matter can't be ended
this morning and dismissed in a single
sentence," urged Tom ; and to this position
he firmly adhered.
" I will promise not to see Lilith, or to
write to her or to influence her in any way for
a week, if you will think it over till then and.
talk to her about it," he suggested at last.
26o THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
*' Waiting a week won't, I fear, alter your
position, Mr. Palmer; and it will only un-
settle you both with vain fancies."
'* I can't accept a final dismissal to-day,"
said the lover, doggedly ; " it would be
treachery to her."
*' She shall write and dismiss you herself,"
said Mr. Turold, angrily.
Apparently neither had more to say,
and after they had looked at each other
for a few minutes in silence, Tom went
Mr. Turold stood at the library door
watching his departure ; and he perceived
Lilith lying in wait in the hall, and he saw
the lovers exchange a few words. He could
not hear what they were, but he was pre-
pared to swoop down upon them should
there be the smallest demonstration other
than speech. Both Tom and Lilith knew
they were watched.
" Oh, Tom ! Does he say Nof whispered
DEUS EX MACHINA. 26 1
" I am not going to accept his No yet.
There Is truce, my treasure, for a week.
We must do without each other for a week."
'' Will he say Yes in a week ? "
''I hope he will say something we can
agree to. We can't agree to an unqualified
No. Will Lilith be true for a week ? "
'' For ever."
" But I shan't see you for a whole week,
Lilith, and they will put pressure on you.
Remember, darling, we love each other ! "
"" I will be true, Tom."
" Oh, my darling, my treasure, don't cry !
If you knew how happy I was ! This time
yesterday I thought I was never going to
speak to you any more, and now to-day you
have kissed me, and at the end of a week
you are going to kiss me again. It seems
too good to be true, Lilith. j\Iy own sweet
Lilith — my sweet, sweet Lilith ! "
And then he left her, called for his horse,
mounted and rode away, and Lilith was left
to her tears, and to the family conflict.
HE tried to escape to her room, but
her father called her into the library.
Delay he felt would be worse than useless.
He placed her in a chair, and Lilith sank
upon it, and putting her arms on the table
laid her head upon them. Contrasting this
distressed damsel with the sparkling creature
who had flown in his arms last night,
radiant with the glory of young love, Mr.
Turold felt stabs of the keenest regret. It
was the cruelest thing in the world that she
should have chosen this man ; any other —
some gentle fool, some humpback, some
insolvent — might have been possible. But,
good heavens ! Prepared Paraffin ! It was
no moment for sentimental compassion.
DEUS EX MACHINA. 263
Mr. Turold sat down, poked the fire, called
Tamburlaine to him and pulled his sleek
ears ; cleared his throat ; at last braced him-
*' We must deal with this matter at once,
my dear, and then never mention it again,
eh ? It won t be pleasant for either of us."
Lilith, with dreary composure, ran through
in her mind the thousand and one pleas
she meant to urge if she could keep voice to
** Papa," she began desperately, "you
promised this morning that — that you w^ould
listen. Oh, papa, you said you wanted to
make me happy."
*' I did not know then, my dear, that you
had deceived me."
" Papa, I was afraid you'd be angry ; I
didn't think you'd be angry enough to say
" I don't know about angry, Lilith. I
thought I could trust you. I thought you
understood your position. I thought your
264 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
own taste would have defended you
" Papa, you don't know him, or you
wouldn't talk like that about taste."
'' I see what he is well enough. He is
good looking. When you are ' ten years
older, Lilith, you won't care a farthing about
" I don't care now. He is not so hand-
some as Edward."
" Edward ? Ah, poor Edward ! You are
right there. Edward has a refined "
'' Oh, papa, don't talk nonsense ! Who
cares what either of them looks like ? He
is a great deal bigger than Edward ; and so
are you yourself, papa ; and so was grand-
papa ; but it is nonsense to say you are any
less refined ! "
''Well, well, well ! " said Mr. Turold, rather
overwhelmed, ''let me go on with what I
was saying. I say the young man is fairly
good looking "
" Papa, how can you say 'faiidy ' f "
DEUS EX MACHINA. 265
" Don't Interrupt so often, my love. I
admit he is good looking; and I don't say
he has behaved entirely improperly. He
has exhibited a certain amount of honesty,
and he had the sense not to express himself
at all insolently. But still, one glance shows
me that the man is an ill-bred, vulgar "
" Papa, I will interrupt ! I won't have it
said. It is not trtie, papa. You'd never
have thought it if you hadn't heard his
name. When I saw him first, he was with
horribly vulgar people, and what / saw with
one glance was that he was totally and
This was a false move of Lillth's ; Mr.
Turold replied very coldly :
'' And does my daughter propose to marry
a man whose intimates are horribly vulgar
people ? "
Lillth flushed furiously and was silent.
Her father scored one.
Then Mr. Turold called upon the girl to
explain everything that had taken place
266 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
between her and the young man ; and to
account, if she could, for conduct which at
present seemed to him essentially inde-
•' Papa," cried Lilith, '' where did you get
that idea from ? "
And Mr. Turold thought he saw oppor-
tunity for scoring again, and perhaps for
sowing a little dissension between the lovers.
" I suppose, Lilith, from your suitor's
Again she blushed and hesitated. Surely
Tom could not have described that first
unlucky embrace ?
'' Indeed, papa, I don't think I did any-
thing wrong. He did ask me to marry him.
At Luxor, I mean. What harm was that ?
All women, papa, get a great many pro-
posals. It is nothing extraordinary."
'' But unless a man is a presumptuous
'' Papa, he isn't. How can you say such
things to me ? "
DEUS EX MACHINA. 267
*' — he will not make an offer of marriage
without direct encouragement on the part
of the lady."
Lilith entered on a hasty explanation.
** I didn't mean to encourage him, papa.
But I was very angry just then with
Edward ; and you know why, papa, and
what good cause I had to be angry. And
Edward was ill, and Lady Caroline was
always with him ; and I didn't like any of
the other people. And I did like him;
yes, why shouldn't I say it ? — I did like him
very, very much indeed. But I never
thought of anything more. And then he
asked me ; and I said no. Indeed, papa,
that was all that happened. Except "
She stopped, colouring and still thinking of
that kiss. If she could only know how
much Tom had told! He was so dread-
'' Except what, Lilith ? "
" I did kiss him, papa, once."
" Most disgraceful ! "
268 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
The girl quivered all over with angry-
shame, and Mr. Turold scored again.
'' He kissed me last night," cried Lilith,
'' very often ! And he kissed me again this
morning. It was not disgraceful, when we
love each other. It was not, papa ! "
'' He shall never kiss you again, Lilith.
That much is certain. Go on. After you
had kissed this man and let him make love
to you, you refused him, you say .^ "
'' Papa, because I was so perplexed. I
thought you'd never allow it."
"I am glad you understood that much.
Then you came home, Lilith, and deliberately
concealed from me not only that this man
had made love to you, but that you had ever
even met him."
'' Not deliberately."
*' Nonsense, my dear ! You went out of
your way to exhibit ignorance. Didn't you
see him one Sunday evening when he drew up
in your very path in a highly ridiculous way,
which I remember annoyed me at the time ?
DEUS EX MA CHIN A. 269
Next, most disingenuously, you inveigled
me into a formal acquaintance with the
family. Do you suppose, Lilith, if I had
been aware of the young man's presumption,
I should have permitted you, on any excuse,
to set foot in his father's house ? "
"That was just it!" sobbed Lilith. ''I
knew you wouldn't, and I — I wanted to see
" I can hardly believe it possible ! " said
Mr. Turold, walking up and down the room
in agitation. " My daughter, whom I believed
a paragon, dignified and dutiful as became
my child, has all the time had a concealed
lover whom she knew would be disapproved
by her family, and whom, as her own con-
science told her, she should never have en-
couraged. I am ashamed of you, Lilith! You
have behaved like an ignorant kitchen-maid."
Lilith dropped her head on her arms and
cried on. Mr. Turold was ready to cry too.
She was the apple of his eye, and three
hours ago had looked the happiest girl in
2 70 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
the world. And though he had worked
himself up into such an appearance of in-
dignation, he was quite prepared to forgive
the poor child, to make excuses for her, and
to conceal her transgressions from her
grandfather. The sooner the career of for-
giveness could be entered upon the better
pleased he would be.
'* Come now, Lilith, all this crying will do
no good, my dear ; let us get the matter
over. Take a sheet of paper, my love, and
write what I bid you."
" To whom, papa ? "
" To whom ? To the young man, of
course — Mr. Thomas Palmer," said Mr.
Turold, pronouncing the not particularly
euphonious names in a way that made Lilith
wince. ''Miss Tttrold presejits her compli-
mentsl' so he dictated, " to Mr, Thomas
Pahner, and begs to inform hijn without
"Papa, it's no use. I can't possibly write
to him in that manner."
DEUS EX MA CHINA. 27 1
"Well, well, word it in your own way,
Lilith ; but write you must, and now at once.
And you must show me the letter when you
have done. What you are to convey to him
is this — now, attend : that after reflection and
conversation with me, you see it is quite out
of the question for him ever to contemplate
an alliance with you ; that you greatly regret
having allowed him to think you entertained
a regard for him, and that you must request
him now on his honour as a gentleman — you
may say that — to give you no further
annoyance by pressing his suit in any way
whatsoever, at present, or at any future
Lilith, with tears on her lashes, began to
write. Mr. Turold watched her, standing
at her side for a moment and patting her
head affectionately. Lilith gave a sob, and
put her hand over her letter.
'* Come, come, come ! " said Mr. Turold,
encouraging her ; and then he moved to the
window and blew his nose very loudly.
272 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Lilith wrote on.
Presently the scratch of her pen ceased^
and she sat mournfully surveying her work
with blank eyes.
" Bring it here, my pet/' said her father,
resolved to make it do if it were at all
possible ; supplementing it, however, by an
extremely plain spoken letter of his own.
Lilith advanced slowly and laid it in his
hand. Mr. Turold kissed her, putting his
arm round her waist ; but Lilith was very
unresponsive and stood looking out of the
window with blank eyes and whitened
cheeks. He read the letter : —
"My own dearest,
*'Papa is not pleased with me, and says I
have treated you badly and every one. He won't hear
of it. But I will never, never give you up unless
you wish it ; and even then I shall love you for ever
and ever, and be always thankful that you have loved
" I am always your own,
After which came her usual royal flourish.
DEUS EX MA CHINA. 273
"Pshaw!" said Mr. Turold, very angrily,
and tore the poor Httle letter to pieces and
threw it on the floor. Shaking the girl's
arm, he turned round sharply and faced
her. But all Lilith's courage had been
used up in the tremendous effort of what
she had done. She fled as fast as she could
go — across the hall, up the staircase, to
her own room ; locked the door, and flung
herself face downwards on her bed. ]\Ir.
Turold went to luncheon with the ]\Iount
Jocelyns and explained dryly that his
daughter had a headache after too much
dancing at the ball last night.
Tom Palmer, meanwhile, had ridden
thoughtfully home. What was he to do
next ? There was truce for a week, but
what could he say at the end of a week
more than he said to-day ? How was he
to become Lilith's equal in the course of a
week ? or how dissolve the accumulated
prejudices of generations of Turolds of
Turold Royal ?
VOL. I. 18
2 74 ^^^ PRINCESS ROYAL.
Mr. Palmer, in his shirt sleeves and working
apron, was in the hall expecting his son's
return. He put his arm through Tom's and
led him into his ugly little laboratory, where
was general untidiness and a variety of evil
smells incidental to his experimenting. The
contrast between this unclean den and the
stately library at Turold Royal struck Tom
'' Well, my boy ? well, what did he
say ? " said Mr. Palmer, with an eagerness
that must have seemed, to any one but a
lover, disproportionate to the occasion.
" He won't consent," said Tom, dejectedly.
" But what did he say ? Did he treat
you as a gentleman } "
"Why, yes," said Tom, with a little
attempt at jocularity, ''except that he
didn't call his dog off till I asked him to."
"■ The gentry say it's a sign of low blood
when a man's afraid of dogs," said Mr.
Palmer, so seriously that Tom laughed.
'' I am not afraid of dogs,'' he said, "only
DEUS EX MACHINA. 275
of that dog. If you, my father, had seen
the tip of his tail — I know you of old — you'd
have run away. Tamburlaine the brute's
*' I'd have 'em all muzzled," said Mr.
Palmer, unabashed ; '' the fussing of the
upper classes with dogs is idolatry — blank
idolatry. Don't talk of dogs now, my dear
lad, my dear lad ! " he cried earnestly.
"Well, father, I have told you. He
won't have me."
" Did you tell him I'd give you some six
thousand a year to start with ? "
** No ; I never thought of your giving me
so much," said the son.
"■ All, Tom, all. Mother and me would
live on three hundred, and glad to do it,
my dear boy."
'' Oh, I didn't go into the money question,"
said Tom, rather bewildered. " I don't
believe it would make a straw's difference."
" But what did he say, Tom ? what did
he say ? "
276 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
" What we knew he would say — that we
Mr. Palmer smote his hands together
" Did you ask him if he wouldn't sooner
have an honest tradesman for his girl's
father-in-law, than a scoundrel, a gaol-bird,
a suicide ? "
" No, I can't say I put it like that," said
Tom surprised, and laughing again.
" I'll go and ask him myself," said Mr.
Palmer, looking for his coat.
" Dear dad," said Tom, catching his arm,
" don't worry yourself or him by needless
questions. Has Lilith a scoundrelly gentle-
man lover ? She didn't tell me about him ;
anyhow she doesn't mean to marry him.
The point is, if Mr. Turold persists "
" It's a leading of Providence, I'm sure
of it ! " cried Mr. Palmer, not listening.
** Father, you talk in riddles, and don't
help me a bit," said Tom, vexed.
** But I wz// help you. I'll go and see
DEUS EX MACHINA. 277
the man myself, and tell him the facts.
Bless the boy ! " cried Mr. Palmer, who was
walking about the room excitedly ; '* does he
think I've never carried on a negotiation
before ? and with gentlefolks too ? Did he
talk to you in Greek or in Latin, then,
Tom ? "
'' Why should your lack of Greek or Latin
be thrown in your teeth ? "
*' The lack of what I haven't got will
never h'irritate me by being thrown in my
teeth. I've got to see him, boy. Don't
oppose me. Tom, my dear lad," said Mr.
Palmer, his voice shaking as he laid his
hand on Tom's arm, '' if I mismanage it,
what with my want of Latin and so forth,
you'll not say the failure's my fault '^. I'd
sooner you'd have chosen another girl, Tom,
almost any other ; but there it is, and we
can't alter it. And now I'm ready to give
up what I care most about to get her for
you. If I fail, Tom, you mustn't suppose
in your heart that I courted failure to have
278 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
you driven back on some other lass, or that
I didn't do my very best for you."
Tom was mystified as much by his father's
emotion as by his words, and was by no
means sanguine as to the ambassador's
chance of success. Respect and even ad-
miration were Mr. Palmer's due from every
one ; but respect and admiration are not
plants which grow in a day on an unkindly
soil. Mr. Turold looked for Greek and
Latin in his daughter's father-in-law ; and
finding neither, he would examine into Mr.
Palmer's qualifications for respect no further.
The oil merchant was going to a certain snub-
bing" ; but he was determined on his mission,
and Tom did not further oppose him.
The son little guessed the heartburn-
inofs with which the old man set forth on
his self-imposed task. To disown his son
— to disown his son, that he might win for
him the bride who was yet far from welcome
to his paternal heart ! How little the Greek
and Latin mattered in a task like that !
DEUS EX MACHINA. 279
But Mr. Palmer, steeling his heart, like
Abraham, to give up his son, was a man
of imagination and resource ; a bit of an
idealist who could conceive and execute
things strange to other men. It had been
fantastic to bring up the boy in delusion
about his parentage ; the man who had done
it was ripe for further fantasies now. All
day he thought and thought, trying to invent
some cunning plan by which he might retain
the boy and yet deliver him up to his family.
The thing might seem impossible to other
and dull-brained folk ; but so also might the
grand new light he was inventing seem
impossible. Mr. Palmer saw his lamp
already in his mind's eye, and doubted not
that he would solve his chemical problem.
Now he had another problem to deal with ;
and neither of its solution did he despair as
he walked next day to Turold Royal, his
head bent, his eyes glued to the ground, lost
jp^HEN Tom had ridden away from the
^M^ Court after his unsuccessful wooing,
it happened that old Charles Turold in his
private room looked out of the window and
saw him. Tom rode, as w^e saw, a good bay
horse; sat him well, and looked altogether
a well set-up and admirable young man.
The old gentleman's instinctive idea (for
he sometimes mixed times and seasons and
different generations together in his thoughts)
was that the young cavalier was a member
of his own family. Many a time had he
proudly seen Richard or Geoffrey or Gilbert
riding in that manner across the park on a
good horse. In earlier days he had had a
brother and cousins. The old man sighed,
DEUS EX MACHINA. 281
thinking how many of these Turolds had
died young, and marvelUng that he him-
self should be so old. He called his
" Caxton, who's that young fellow riding
away from the house ? "
Caxton looked out.
''That's young Mr. Palmer, sir. Been
to see Mr. Gilbert on business."
The old man snorted. He had then mis-
taken Satan for an ang^el ; the scion of
paraffin he had confused with one of his own
"What business, I'd like to know?" he
muttered testily. " Has he been about it
before ? "
'* Can't say, sir," said Caxton ; *T ve known
old Mr. Palmer come once or twice."
Caxton, less respectful to the family than
Yates, or Mrs. Horlock the housekeeper,
believed Palmer a money-lender; and that
Mr. Gilbert was ' got into ' difficulties.
'* Arrange with Yates," said old Charles
282 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
Turold, "that next time Mr. Palmer or Mr.
Palmer s son calls on business, or on any
other excuse, he is shown up to me. And,"
he added, weakly, "you — needn't inform
Mr. Gilbert of my order."
For the old man was getting a little weak,
as Caxton very well knew ; he himself had
suspicions of the fact, and was so afraid of
Gilbert's guessing it, that his manner to
his son grew daily more blustering and un-
When, true to his resolve, Mr. Palmer
next day appeared at Turold Royal, there
was no difficulty in smuggling him up to the
old despot's apartment. Yates handed him
over to Caxton ; who took him up the main
staircase, through a long gallery, down
another stair, and up a few steps more to
an ante-room ; then pushed aside a heavy
curtain and opened a door, and drew another
curtain, and ushered him into the presence
of old Charles Turold ; who sat in a wheeled
chair by the window, with an invalid's patent
DEUS EX MACHINA, 2%
table beside him, which held everything
he wanted and grew to his chair in any
Mr. Palmer had only dimly comprehended
that Charles Turold, Stephen's father, was
alive at all. He quite believed him in-
visible, speechless, and imbecile. It was
alarming to find himself at unawares in
the presence of that relic of past ages ; a
relic, too, very much alive though some-
what immovable, with a very keen pair of
angry eyes, and a sharply pointed tongue
which took more licence than that of a
younger man. However, Jack Palmer,
elderly himself and looking older than he
was, was not given to fear of his fellow-
creatures : he was too upright in all his
purposes for that. He sat down with his
hands on the top of his stick, in his usual
countrified attitude ; and with his usual ex-
pression of universal good will a little
modified by the sadness of his task.
" What is it you want ? " asked his
284 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
Majesty, not at all with the courtesy
Gilbert had used in asking the same ques-
tion of Tom.
Very slowly, and with shaking fingers,
Mr. Palmer untied a roll of yellowing papers
he had brought with him, and spread and
smoothed them across his knee. Neither
Providence nor ingenuity had as yet sug-
gested to him any way of escape.
'' You see, sir, I'd a deal sooner not go
into this matter," began Mr. Palmer, ''for,
before God, he's as my own child to me,
and I'd never give him up but for his own
good ; and if I could get his good without,
I'd sooner keep him as he is. Will you
name your own terms, sir, and I'll see if I
could meet them ? If money'll do it, I'll
hand it over to Tom, every penny, and
trust to his love for his old father not to
have to go naked myself."
*' What the deuce are you talking about ? "
asked Mr. Turold, turning round upon his
visitor alarmingly, not himself only but his
DEUS EX MACHINA. 285
entire chair, in a magic manner ; " who wants
your damned money ? "
'' I don't say you do, sir ; Tom bade me
take caution there. He said no one accused
him of looking after the heiress, and it
would be no less impudent to suppose you
could be caring after our money. But for
all that, sir, caring after money isn*t so ill
a thing as looking after an heiress for her
position. Money is neither more nor less
than a necessity to some folk, and It's no
shame for 'em to try and get it. And I
could wish, sir, for Tom's sake, that was
your way at present."
The keen old eyes were flashing like a
lighthouse, but the only reply was the
repetition of one phrase —
** Looking after an heiress ? "
" Sir," said Mr. Palmer, with great
earnestness, '* it ain't a fair thing to say of
Tom, who has no more care that way than
the child unborn, and was as like to have
chosen a be^rear maid as an heiress. It's
286 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
love, sir — ^just love, and no more, and no
less. And though you and me are old
men now "
Mr. Palmer came to a full stop, for he
suddenly perceived a bloodhound, with great
red eyes, staring at him from under the
wheeled chair. It was not Tamburlaine,
but Tamburlaine's grand uncle Bajazet, a
much milder specimen of the breed. Mr.
Palmer, however, did not know that ; and
Tom's remarks coming into his head, he
turned pale and speechless.
" Damn your impudence ! " cried his
Majesty, much incensed by the allusion to
his age, though in general he was rather
proud of it.
Resolved to forget the bloodhound, Mr.
Palmer went on heroically —
" Though you are a good bit older than
me, sir, still I make bold to guess you haven't
forgot your young days, and that you had
your own love-story then, like every other
honest man. And honest is just the word
DEUS EX MACHINA. 287
for my Tom, who has never had a love-story
before ; nor hasn't played at love, and at
fast and loose, like the other young fellows,
and rubbed all the bloom and the cleanli-
ness off the heart he's offering now to the
girl of his choice."
'' Hold your tongue !" shouted Mr. Turold,
choking with fury, '' and keep your infernal
sentiment to yourself. Who is this person
you call Tom ? " Fatal question !
" He's my boy, sir, my only child — my
son!" cried Mr. Palmer with tears in his
eyes ; " but he's also "
" Hold your tongue, sir ! Is this what
you mean to say, in plain English — that
your confounded son is looking after my
heiress ? "
'* My Tom is wanting to marry your girl,
Lilith," said Mr. Palmer.
''Then take yourself out of my house,
sir," sputtered the old man, savagely, ''and
never you nor your damned puppy of a son,
nor any member of your detestable family
THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
whatsoever presume to set foot in it again."
And once more the veteran, and his chair,
and his table all spun round by magic,
and Mr. Palmer saw only his back and
his ears, which had become purple with
It had come then : the moment Jack
Palmer had dreaded. This senseless rage
demonstrated that Tom, as a mere Palmer,
could never conquer the prejudices of the
Turolds. His chance must be tried as the
son of Stephen, and a Turold himself.
" Are you gone ? " shouted the old man,
not turning round. *' Get out of this, or,
by Heaven ! I'll set my dog at you."
Instinctively Mr. Palmer rose, for had not
even Tom declared himself afraid of that
dog ? But again magnanimity prevailed.
He conquered his cowardice, came over to
the chair, and laid his hand on the old
man's shoulder. His lips turned white, and
though his voice was clear, it shook.
*' But, sir," said Mr. Palmer, '' it's my duty
DEUS EX MACHINA. 289
to inform you that my dear boy Tom is
your own grandson."
At once there flashed across Charles
Turold's mind the recollection that he had
mistaken Tom on his prancing bay horse
for a member of his own family. His mind,
weakened and confused in some ways, was
quick as lightning in others.
'' I neither know nor care how you make
that out," said Mr. Turold, *' but I never
acknowledge ' '
" He's the true and legitimate son of your
son Stephen," said Mr. Palmer, slowly.
''Stephen!'' echoed Mr. Turold. ''What
do you say ? " he gasped. *' What ? "
He shook the hand off his shoulder, and
stared at the other with wild eyes and a
blanched face grown ten years older. Charles
Turold had disliked his son Stephen from
his birth ; since Stephen had proved himself
worthless, he had hated him ; and for years
no one had dared to pronounce the detested
name in his hearing. The long-concealed
VOL. I. 19
290 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
skeleton in his cupboard had suddenly burst
out and confronted him.
*' Stephen ! " he gasped, again and again.
" Stephen ! "
Then there was silence, the two men
looking at each other.
It was a dark day, and the short after-
noon was closing in. Mr. Turold at last
moved a little and tried to light his candles,
but his hands shook so violently that the
other had to do it for him.
*' Go and sit down there," said the
old man, pointing to the chair the oil
merchant had vacated, '' and tell me about
it. Stephen ! "
*' You've seen me before, sir," said Palmer,
''though you haven't recognized me. You
saw me at the inquest on your son's death.
My name is John Palmer — I was in Steven-
son's shop then, and hadn't started business
on my own account. And Kate was my
sister. Your son Stephen was married to
her ; not so soon as he had ought to have
DEUS EX MACHINA. 29 1
been, but he was legally married to her.
I've got the proofs here. And a year and
six months after the marriage this child
was born. And the mother died of misery,
and the father killed himself, and the child
was given to me. And I've brought him
up my own son ; and it's a cruel thing,
it's a cruel thing that I have to turn him
over to you now, who've done nothing for
him, and, I take it, hate the very sound of
'' I don't believe one word of it," said Mr.
Turold, weakly however. *' I was at the
inquest, and there was no mention of a child
then. And I had seen the woman a week
before her death, and she said she had none ;
and she didn't make it clear to me that she
was a married woman at all."
** Kate was frightened of your taking her
boy from her, sir ; and Stephen, he wasn't
for your getting hold of him, neither. He
gave the child a present to me. But he
didn't leave us without proofs for establishing
292 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
his birth, if they were wanted. I've got 'em
all here, and you'd best look 'em over.
There's letters from Stephen and letters from
Kate ; and a statement of facts written and
signed by Stephen before he died, and their
marriage lines, and the certificate of the
child's birth. And there are references to
three men : the parson who married them, —
he's dead now, though — and the doctor who
brought the child into the world, and a
tradesman friend of my own who knew the
boy as Stephen's before I had him, and
why and when he was brought to me, and
has seen him grow up, and is prepared to
swear to his identity. You may go to law
about it, sir, but you won't never upset it."
Mr. Turold stretched out his hand for the
papers, but was too much agitated to read a
" You'll leave them with me," he said
feebly, his head falling back on the cushion
and his hand clutching his forehead.
" No. sir. They're too valuable to Tom
DEUS EX MACHINA. 293
to be let out of my keeping, unless into
his. rU have copies made for you, if you
*' But, confound you, man ! it's you who
haven't a right to retain them. It's fraud,
sir — damned fraud or felony. If it's not a
devilish lie from end to beginning, I'll have
you prosecuted for child-stealing and keeping
my grandson out of his birthright."
'' Stephen told me, sir, the child had no
birthright ; not a claim on a farthing. He
was a castaway — might have gone to the
workhouse if I hadn't picked him up and
bred him. You don't tell me now, sir, that
I've been keeping him out of anything .^ "
'* No, you fool, you have kept him out of
nothing so far. If his father had lived he'd
never have had a penny from me in my life-
time, nor the damned young brat either.
But it doesn't seem to strike you that if he's
the legitimate son of my son Stephen, he is
at this moment my heir."
" God have mercy on us ! " ejaculated Mr.
294 ^^-^ PRINCESS ROYAL.
Palmer, turning cold all over, and mechani-
cally repossessing himself of the papers.
There was a long silence, the two men
looking at each other in the flickering candle-
light with pale faces, as in the presence of
some great calamity.
"But, sir, sir!" cried Mr. Palmer, ''*ow
can it be ? When you've a son of your own,
and he with a child ? Stephen wasn't never
your eldest son ! "
" He was older than Gilbert, damn him,"
said Mr. Turold, with a groan. "All my
sons are dead but the youngest, and he's
the only one I ever cared a rush about ; and
now with your lies and your damned work-
house brat you want me to oust him. Was
Stephen born to be a curse to me, then ? "
" My God ! my God 1 " said Mr. Palmer ;
" if I could have had a guess at this, God
knows I'd have acted different."
" Fifteen years ago," said the old man,
with his high quivering voice and tear-
filled eyes, " it wouldn't have mattered. It
DEUS EX MACHINA, 295
wouldn't have meant ruin to Gilbert then.
What's to become of him now, turned out
of his rights, without a penny, without a
profession, and an elderly man himself?
And what sort of an heir for my important
position is this cub that you have sprung
upon me ? An unknown, uneducated, ill-
bred shopwalker, with knowledge neither of
his family, nor of his duties "
*' But if he was married to his cousin "
began Mr. Palmer, merely as a subject for
thought, not with any notion that it imme-
diately offered solution of the difficulty.
Mr. Turold raised his head, and looked at
'' Ah ! " he said, with a quick spasm of
excitement and relief as at the invasion of
a new idea.
Again there was a pause.
"God help us!" sighed Mr. Palmer, his
inventive mind vigorously at work.
The old man, weak with age, ready to be
guided, waited eagerly for him to speak.
296 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
'* It would cut my poor boy to the quick,"
said Mr. Palmer, reflectively, " to be told
he'd had a father who was a thief."
"■ Hold your tongue ! " shouted the old
man ; " don't cast his infamies up at me. I
disowned the blackguard years ago."
'' Ay, sir, but wouldn't Tom wish to dis-
own him, too?" said Mr. Palmer; ''it's
with that belief I acted when I bred him up
my son. It would seem nothing but a black
misfortune to Tom to have to own that man
for his father ; let alone that he'd be intruding
where he wasn't wanted, and robbing the
very girl he loves best in the world. Sir,
must it be ? Can't the lad be left to me,
and your son keep hold of his own .^ These
entail laws have never seemed anything to
me but blank injustice. Are we bound to
respect 'em ? Shall we set the lawyers at
it, and spare ourselves, ay, and the lad, too,
the pain of all this ? "
*' No, no," said Mr. Turold, hoarsely ;
'' don't call in the lawyers. It lies between
DEUS EX MA CHI IV A. 297
you and me." He was silent for a while,
rubbing his old hand restlessly backwards
and forwards on his patent table. " Put
your papers in the fire," he said presently,
with gasping breath, "and I'll see to it that
he gets the girl."
Instinctively John Palmer clutched his
papers tighter. He was an idealist, but
there was nothinor dishonest about him. No
temptation would have induced him to
destroy the title-deeds which belonged not
to himself but to Tom ; still — to keep them
back merely ?
'' He'd get his rights with his wife and
his very name with her," Mr. Turold went
on, his voice shaking with excitement.
'* We'll have it taken down and sealed up
for their children to know the truth ; but I
can't have it come out in my lifetime, no, nor
in Gilbert's." He stretched out his hand to
the oil merchant. ''Give me your oath not
to say a word of this to the boy nor to any
one — not to my son, not to my son ! — till I
298 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
have seen you again. Tell me, is the fellow
healthy ? "
"■ As strong as a young David, sir."
'* Not likely to die young '^. So many of
them have done that — so many of them —
died young — my sons ! "
"That's in the Lord's hand, sir. He's
been very 'ealthy, and is a six foot and more."
'' Is he vicious .-^ Will he disgrace me,
and cut his throat, like his father ? "
*' I'll stake my life on it he won't, sir."
*' Send him to see me. But, on your
oath, not one word yet ; not a word. And
we won't burn the papers. We'll seal them
up till Gilbert's death. The girl's one of the
weakly ones ! He shall be heir then — after
Gilbert, after Gilbert."
*' Sir, you promised him the girl," Mr.
Palmer urged, pausing in his exit.
" He shall have her," groaned Mr. Turold,
who had fallen back into a crouching attitude
and whose voice had almost left him.
"• Don't tell my son. Don't tell my son," he
DEUS EX MA CHIN A,
murmured as the oil merchant took his leave ;
and he repeated the same thing to his servant
again and again.
'' He do seem gone nigh daft," said Caxton
later to Yates ; "he's selling himself to that
Palmer for cash. That's what it is. We'll
know more of it some of these days — you
mark my words."
[WlR. TUROLD received copies of the
•^^ papers ; and when he had a Httle
recovered from the prostration into which
the communication had thrown him, he
looked them over, and even thought of con-
sulting his lawyer lest he were being gulled.
The dilatoriness of age, however, his un-
willingness to revive the memory of Stephen,
an old man's dread of change, and his secret
and increasing fear of Gilbert, paralyzed and
kept him silent. When, a few days later, he
had received a visit from Tom himself, all
idea of a hoax vanished from his mind. He
recognized in him a descendant of his own.
Tom had come humbly enough into the
presence of Lilith's father; but her grand-
DEUS EX MACHINA. 301
parent's importance he had by no means
realized, and he felt vexed by his interference.
" You have sent for me, sir ? " said the
young man, with unconscious haughtiness, as
he came in.
Mr. Turold pointed to a seat and surveyed
him. If he were like Stephen, it seemed to
the grandfather that he must curse him
aloud ; if he were like the woman, his low-
born mother, or like the upstart plebeian
oilman, his uncle, it seemed to the old man
that he must still curse him. But though
Tom had a look of all these persons, the
resemblance was not salient. He was a great
deal more like his uncle Richard at the same
age ; as Richard's father remembered him,
with an upright carriage, an unhesitating step,
and a slight air of haughtiness, habitual with
Richard, momentary and accidental with
Tom. So striking did the likeness appear
to the old man, that he wondered every one
did not remark upon it. Probably his eyes
exaggerated. Probably he remembered his
302 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
firstborn more distinctly than did any one
else. But it was a long, long time since Mr.
Turold himself had seen his firstborn, and
Gilbert had now entirely usurped his place.
Son of Stephen, copy of Richard, Tom was
unwelcome to his grandfather ; nay, Richard
himself, had he started back into life,
would have been unwelcome, an inconveni-
ence, an object of terror, a thing to be hidden
away and stifled, if it were in any way
He asked Tom one or two perfunctory
questions about himself, and was so little
attentive to the replies that the young man
was half offended. Not for a moment did
Tom suppose he intended to further his
" When you are married," said the old
man, dreamily, forgetting that the remark
had had no introduction, *' you must restore
the east wall of the tower and reopen the
Tom started to his feet.
DEUS EX MACHINA. 303
" Has Mr. Turold consented ?" he cried.
" / have consented," replied the old man,
with a gesture of distress.
" What ? Is It true ? Am I to have
Lllith for my wife ? "
*' I won't stand any nonsense about it,"
cried the old man, wildly ; " you must marry
her. Anything else is destruction. Good
God ! boy, you are not hesitating, are
Tom was too much astonished to reply.
Then Lllith put her head In to wish her
grandfather good morning.
'' Oh ! " she exclaimed, seeing her lover ;
and entered doubtfully, standing with her
back against the door and blushing prettily.
Then, struck by her grandfather's air of
agitation and of quite novel weakness, she
threw herself on her knees at his side and
took his shaking hand in hers. The old
man burst Into tears like a child, laying his
hand on Lillth's shoulder and clinging to her.
304 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
It was very startling to the girl, who had
never seen him in this mood ; and she put
her arms round him and kissed his white
hair and veined forehead.
*' Lilith, listen, child," said old Charles
Turold, his voice broken and his eyes still
raining piteously, **you must do what I bid
you, no matter how- disagreeable it is to you.
If you don't, you will ruin yourself and your
father and me. You must marry this young
man, my dear, and not give any trouble
Lilith got up and looked first at her grand-
father, who had buried his face in his hands
and was rocking himself slowly like one in
pain, and then at Tom, who had drawn
a little nearer, but was still silent.
" What does he mean ? " said Lilith.
"■ I don't know what he means," said Tom,
taking her hand ; " he must have misunder-
stood something my father has said. Neither
father nor I would work by threats, even if
we had any to propose."
DEUS EX MACHINA. 305
''Grandpapa," said Lilith, shyly, "Tom
and I want to marry each other."
The old man heaved a sigh of relief.
Rousingr himself, he despatched Caxton for
his son, and the young people waited, both
silent and very much surprised. When
Gilbert entered, hurriedly, for he imagined
that the old man, after unaccountably ailing
for nearly a week, had been taken ill, he
found Lilith sitting on a stool by her grand-
father, her hand on his knee, much more affec-
tionate and confidential than usual. And
Tom Palmer, the enemy, the wolf, with a
well-marked frown of anxiety on his brow,
was standing in the background watching her
and the course of events. It was very be-
wildering, and Gilbert Turold stopped short
in utter confusion and annoyance.
But come ; he had arrived in time ; Lilith
would not be on those terms with her grand-
father if the old man had discovered the
scrape she had got herself into. At all
hazards the poor naughty child must be
VOL. I. 20
306 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
protected ; no doubt It was she who had sent
for him to come to her assistance and to
take her intruding lover somehow out of the
'' Ah, Mr. Palmer ! " said Gilbert Turold,
easily, '' there is some mistake, I see. I was
expecting you to-day, or to-morrow — to-
morrow was the day mentioned, I think ? — to
receive my final answer on that matter we
spoke of. But I will trouble you to follow
me to the library. Yates has made a
He spoke with perfect friendliness, his
one idea to shield Lilith. A flush of triumph
had mounted on Tom's cheek as he heard
this pleasant tone ; but something whispered
caution to him, and he did not reply. He
glanced at Lilith, smiling and raising his
" Wait a minute," said the old man's
almost soundless voice ; and Gilbert looking
at him began suddenly to suspect something
more than a servant's blunder.
DEUS EX MACHINA. 307
" Mr. Palmer," said Gilbert, severely,
'' what does this mean ? "
''I don't know," said Tom, bluntly; ''I
don't know what it means. But you will
give me your answer about Lilith ? I am
glad to think "
" Grandpapa," broke in the girl, '* you
must speak. Oh, papa, listen to grand-
Gilbert now dimly guessed at alliances.
** I am listening, Lilith," he said with
grave displeasure, crushing all Tom's sud-
denly conceived hopes.
Then the son turned to Mr. Turold.
" You are aware, sir, of the matter which
brings this gentleman here .^ I am sur-
prised you have not spoken to me about
it. As only one answer is possible to Mr.
Palmer's request, an answer which I have
already given, it will be pleasanter for every
one if I repeat it to him in private."
There was a pause.
** Listen," said the old man, watching Tom
308 THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
furtively with an expression of fear not lost
upon his son, " I know you want to marry
your girl to Edward Vane. It can't be done,
so there's an end of it. She is to marry —
The old voice was so tremulous and
troubled that it carried the authority of a
'' Who is Richard ? " asked Gilbert, after
a short reflection.
*' Mr. Turold has mistaken my name,"
" Do you refer to Mr. Palmer, sir ? "
The old man pointed to the suitor without
*' Allow me to understand. You spoke to
me a week ago of some person who wished
to address my daughter ; did you refer to
Mr. Palmer ? "
** I don't remember speaking to you. She
is to marry him."
" Against my will, sir ! "
" Oh, papa, dear papa ! " broke in Lilith,
DEUS EX MACHINA. 309
"don't say it is against your will when we
all wish it so much, so much ! "
Tom's frown of anxiety had become very
'' It is entirely against my will, Lilith,"
said Gilbert ; '' it is for you to choose whether
you obey your father or not."
Tears sprang to Lilith's eyes as she looked
from one to the other. Then she moved to
her lover's side. '' I will do whatever Tom
thinks right, papa."
" May I say," said the young man, flushing
as he held the girl's hand, " that next to
Lilith's wishes, sir, I think most of yours."
" I am glad you do that much," said
There was another pause ; Gilbert Turold
one against three and surveying the enemy.
What could his father's attitude mean ?
" I thought," began Tom, gravely, '' that
Mr. Turold here was perhaps going to argue
in our favour. I did not think that
3IO THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
" I am too old for argument," Interrupted
the old quavering voice. " I give my orders,
and I expect them obeyed. Lillth is
dependent on me, not on you, Gilbert ; you
are dependent on me yourself, sir. Obey me
or It shall be the worse for you — the devil
only knows how much the worse. Settle
it at once," he cried, raising his voice.
'' What are you hanging back for, you young
dog ? The girl is willing. Here, Lillth !
obey me, child. We'll write out a contract,
and let me see it signed," he ended wildly.
** I'll send for a lawyer ! "
Lillth was terrified by his vehemence.
''He is insane," said Gilbert; "it is the
doctor I shall send for." And, indeed, there
seemed reason in the proposition, for a
sudden choking cry from the old man startled
them all, and he fell forward in his chair,
white and rigid, but not unconscious, for his
keen eyes retained their full life and were
fixed with ever-increasing determination
upon his companions. It was Tom who
DEUS EX MACHINA. 31I
raised and supported him till his nerves and
muscles had resumed their vigour.
** I am dying," he gasped ; " it must be
done now. Stay here, Lilith child, to — to
sign your name." And he dragged to him-
self a sheet of paper, and began to write
a formula in clear though straggling letters.
" I, Thomas, undertake to marry Lilith Turold and
no other, and to take her name."
" Sign it," he gasped ; '' make them both
sign it, Gilbert, and I can die at ease, and
you — you are all right ; all of you in your
Tom laid the old man back on his cushions
and rose to his feet.
" No," he said, *' I can't sign anything to-
day. But I do wish with all my heart, and
I do purpose, to marry Lilith."
" Let me sign it ! " cried the girl. " Poor
grandpapa, how ill we have made him ! Let
me give him this little pleasure."
'' No, dearest," said Tom, gently, "we can
THE PRINCESS ROYAL,
trust each other without that." And he
turned to Gilbert : " Do you wish to say
anything to me in private, sir ? "
'* I am obhged to you for your forbearance,"
said Gilbert, in a low voice, *' though of course
this is all a farce, Mr. Palmer. The matter
must stand over for the present, and I will
send for you as soon as I see my way clearly.
Not that I shall have anything to say
other than I have already said," he added,
Tom bowed and withdrew, with one smile
at Lilith. The girl watched him down the
road, then she too left the room.
Gilbert remained, absorbed in contem-
plation of the stricken old man, whose bowed
frame and palsied fingers were as different
as could be from the hale old age of a week
ago. It was the finger of death on him,
perhaps ; and this meaningless obstinacy
was the mere expiring blaze of a tyrannical
temper. A few days' delay would tide over
DEUS EX MACHINA. 313
The old eyes opened again after half an
*' Have you settled It ? Is the paper
signed ? Where is it ? " he demanded.
"Yes — yes," returned the son, soothingly,
" it shall be as you wish. Don't distress
" Don't talk to me as if I were a fool ! "
cried old Mr. Turold, starting up angrily.
" I am saner and wiser than you, Gilbert,
and I know what I am about. I want to
save you from ruin. Do you wish to be
turned out ? beggared, you and your girl ?
Do you wish to kill me ? raking up old
infamies when already I have put you in my
place and given you everything I have, and
established you in your position, you, the
only son I have left '^. Why do you object ? "
he went on less vehemently ; " he isn't a
chimney-sweep, is he ? The girl likes him ;
she has no fancy for your little Edward
Vane. You did not wish her coerced. Let
her have her way. He's a big, handsome
314 THE PRINCESS ROYAL.
boy, like — like You married for love
yourself, and very badly too — a sickly woman
with only one child. Let Lilith marry the
man she loves ; and when he is your son-
in-law, lick him into shape and teach him
his duties as I have taught you. Give him
authority ; it's good for the heir."
Gilbert's astonishment knew no bounds.
" My dear sir," he urged, '' there are a
thousand men more suited to the position
in every respect. I don't think you realize
who this fellow is."
'' There's a great smell of oil about him,"
said the old man, grimly ; " deodorizing will
be your business ; and I hope to Heaven
he doesn't drink ; that was the beginning
of it with Stephen, and the end too, I sup-
" He rambles," said Gilbert to him-
self; "he is doting. It is the finger of
He withdrew, and to Lilith he passed no
remark on what had occurred. But after
DEUS EX MACHINA. 315
this the girl sparkled like a summer morning.
She feared her father still, but she believed
him vanquished. No one had ever disputed
the will of the autocrat.
END OF VOL. I.
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
LONDON AND BECCLES. St. &= H.